Advance Notice: Briefs

U of M to settle federal lawsuit, create taskforce for input on sexual misconduct policies

By: - March 24, 2022 12:28 pm

The University of Michigan | Susan J. Demas

The University of Michigan has reached an agreement to settle a federal lawsuit brought by students over the university’s handling of the Dr. Robert Anderson sexual assault scandal.

Under the settlement, submitted to U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts on Thursday, the university will fund and create a Coordinated Community Response Team of about 30 representatives to provide input and advice on the university’s policies and prevention efforts related to sexual misconduct.

“The creation of the Coordinated Community Response Team is another important step toward our vision of becoming a national leader in protecting our community from inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct,” said interim President Mary Sue Coleman. “The structure of the team, which includes leadership from outside the university, will give a voice to all members of our community who have a perspective to share on this vital effort.”

The team will be co-chaired by an external adviser, a faculty member, and the university’s executive director of Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX office.

Rebecca Veidlinger, an attorney who works as a Title IX consultant, will serve as the external expert.

“I am encouraged to see U-M create this vehicle for amplifying a range of voices on the subject of sexual misconduct in our community,” Veidlinger said. “As a co-chair of the Coordinated Community Response Team, I am looking forward to working with members of the U-M community to develop positive steps forward in the fight to combat sexual misconduct.”

Sandra Levitsky, a professor at U of M who studies gender and sexuality and is currently analyzing how universities are responding to pressure to address sexual violence on campus, will serve as the faculty member.

Tamiko Strickman is the executive director of the university’s Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.

The settlement establishes the framework for the response team, but day-to-day operations will be established by the group itself, which would meet at least three times per year. The co-chairs will also regularly meet with the university’s president and share public updates.

The lawsuit settled Thursday, which had been filed by U of M junior Josephine Graham, did not seek monetary relief.

The university reached a $490 million settlement agreement in a separate lawsuit in January. Both settlements are still being finalized.

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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.