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UM president apologizes to "anyone harmed" by late doctor

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel at podium
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The president of the University of Michigan  apologized to "anyone who was harmed" by a late doctorafter several former students said he molested them during medical exams at the school. UM President Mark Schlissel made the remarks at a meeting of the university's Board of Trustees on Thursday.

Update: 7:42 p.m. 

University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel addressed the allegations and the investigation into the late Dr. Anderson. 

"Our police investigation found indications that U of M staff members were aware of rumors and allegations of misconduct during Dr. Anderson's medical exams. To those who reported Dr. Anderson, and to anyone who's come forward to report sexual misconduct in any case, I express my sincere gratitude for your courage."

Schlissel also mentioned Provost Martin Philbert, who was placed on administrative leave last month after allegations of sexual misconduct. He said the University has hired an outside law firm "with specific expertise in this type of work" to investigate the allegations. 

"We want to know all the facts, and it's critical that we ensure a thorough, fair, and independent investigation that provides Dr. Philbert with due process. This will take some time. Because this investigation is so critical, and we must ensure that the outside, independent firm is able to conduct their investigation in a thorough, reliable, and fair way, I will not be able to share any details while the investigation is underway, even though I know there is wide interest in the case."

He advised anyone who knows of misconduct occurring at U-M to report it to university police, the Office of Institutional Equity, or a confidential resource like U-M's Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. 

Original post: 6:04 p.m.

The Detroit News broke the story earlier this week about former patients alleging Dr. Robert E. Anderson sexually abused them during exams. The university says it has received more than 20 calls to a hotline since it announced an investigation into Anderson on Wednesday. Anderson once served as the director of the University Health Service and physician for the football team.

One man alleges that Anderson molested him during a medical exam in 1968 or 1969. The Detroit News also talked to Gary Bailey,who says he filed an official complaint with the university at the time but never heard back. Andy Hrovat, an Olymplic wrestler, made similiar allegations public in published reports yesterday.

Police started an investigation in July 2018 after a former student athlete alleged abuse by Anderson in the 1970s. Anderson died in 2008.

"We have no greater responsibility than to advance the highest standards of conduct and to uphold the trust of the public and the members of our community who choose to study, work or seek care at the University of Michigan," Schlissel said in his remarks. "To anyone who comes forward with information about any sexual misconduct at UM, I personally commit that you will be taken seriously and protected from retaliation, and that accusations will be thoroughly investigated."

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Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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