By: - April 2, 2021 1:27 pm

Central Michigan University | Susan J. Demas

Former U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider has been tapped by Central Michigan University to investigate whether CMU staff members knew about alleged sexual harassment from CMU alumnus and Vanguard Public Relations owner T.J. Bucholz, yet sent students to work for Bucholz anyway.

Schneider served as U.S. Attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District for three years starting in January 2018. He was appointed by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and nominated by former President Donald Trump, both Republicans.

He now works at a Detroit-based private law firm and is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP contender for Michigan Attorney General or Secretary of State in 2022.

The CMU board that hired Schneider to lead the university’s investigation is chaired by Rich Studley, who also heads the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a traditionally Republican-leaning lobbying group.

To dare, six women have alleged that Bucholz sexually harassed them, with the allegations first reported by the progressive news and commentary blog Eclectablog on March 24. All of the individuals worked for Vanguard between 2016 and 2019 and allege inappropriate comments, sexual offers and more from the political consultant.

Bucholz is thought to have worked with CMU staffers to recruit students as employees for Vanguard. Whether those staffers knew about Bulcholz’s alleged behavior and still referred students to him is under investigation by the university.

Two CMU staffers, journalism faculty member Steve Coon and student media advisor Dave Clark, were recently suspended as part of that investigation.

After being put on leave by CMU, the Michigan Press Association suspended Clark as a board member. Some, including Crains Detroit Business reporter and CMU journalism alumnus Chad Livengood, have since defended Clark’s reputation and asked that CMU reconsider his suspension.

Schneider and Bucholz reportedly both attended Frankenmuth High School, a connection which the university said it was aware of before hiring the attorney. Schneider graduated from the school in 1992 and Bucholz graduated in 1989.*

This story has been corrected to reflect that Schneider and Bucholz did not graduate from Frankenmuth High School in the same year.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).