University of Michigan provost put on leave after sexual misconduct allegations

University of Michigan Provost Martin A. Philbert has been put on administrative leave as the university conducts an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

In an email to the university, President Mark Schlissel announced the move, effective Tuesday, following the results of an investigation that started on Friday, Jan. 17.

According to the statement, the university received multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by the Dr. Philbert, who has been at the university since 2011. 

After receiving the claims, the university hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations and Philbert was told not to report to work during that time. On Tuesday, he was officially placed on leave while the investigation continues.

University of Michigan Provost Martin A. Philbert

University of Michigan Provost Martin A. Philbert has been put on leave while the school investigates claims of sexual misconduct.

Below is the full letter sent by Schlissel:

To All Members of the U-M Ann Arbor Community:

The University of Michigan has received and acted on allegations of sexual misconduct against Martin A. Philbert, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. With the endorsement and full support of the U-M Board of Regents, I have placed Dr. Philbert on administrative leave, effective Jan. 21, 2020, pending the results of an investigation we began on Friday, Jan. 17.

I will follow up in the coming days regarding the appointment of an acting provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

We take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, and our policy is clear: Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in the University of Michigan community.

I want to apprise everyone of what has happened over the last few days and the actions we have taken.

  • On Thursday and Friday, Jan. 16-17, 2020, the university received several allegations of sexual misconduct by Dr. Philbert.
  • We began an internal investigation Friday. Over the next three days, the university retained an outside law firm which immediately launched an investigation of the allegations, our Division of Public Safety and Security was engaged, and Dr. Philbert was directed not to report to work. I placed him on administrative leave Tuesday.
  • The Office for Institutional Equity who would normally handle such investigations, reports to the provost. Today, I have moved OIE’s reporting line for all matters related to this investigation to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Richard S. Holcomb.

The U-M Board of Regents and I are committed to a full and thorough investigation, and we will continue to work to ensure the integrity of the process, following the same policy and practices that apply to all employees at U-M. It remains early in the investigation, and no findings or conclusions have been reached.

We thank the individuals who have come forward with these allegations. We know that reporting requires courage. The university has offered support services and will work diligently to assist those who report in every way possible.

We encourage any member of our community who is aware of conduct that may violate U-M’s sexual misconduct policy to notify our Office for Institutional Equity. You may also report, seek support or access confidential resources on our sexual misconduct website.