Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Message from the Dean

The University of Michigan School of Public Health is committed to fostering a respectful, safe, and inclusive school culture for all faculty, staff, students, and research fellows. As dean of the school, I strongly affirm that sexual misconduct, discrimination, bullying, or any other egregious behaviors will not be tolerated. 

In light of the 2020 WilmerHale report investigating misconduct by Martin Philbert, former University of Michigan provost and School of Public Health dean, the school has taken steps to prevent sexual misconduct and abuses of power and encourage safe reporting. A list of actions and detailed progress by semester can be found below.

These are just some of the actions the school will take as part of this ongoing and important work to create a more supportive and safe culture. Education, training, and reform will be continuing school-wide priorities as we seek to rebuild the structures and behaviors that are necessary to prevent harmful actions such as sexual misconduct within our community. This page will be updated frequently with new information about actions in progress at the school.

-DuBois Bowman, Dean of the School of Public Health

This page will be updated each semester with new information about actions in progress at the school.

Action Items

In response to the 2020 WilmerHale report regarding Martin Philbert, the school announced the following initial list of action items:

  • Immediate removal of the dean’s portrait, other photos and recognitions honoring Martin Philbert, including the removal of images from our digital and website platforms
  • Beginning in fall 2020, increased, multi-faceted counseling support mechanisms for faculty, staff, and students as we process and work toward healing
  • An in-depth School of Public Health climate survey and focus groups to more deeply understand workplace culture and begin to address barriers to safe reporting
  • Externally facilitated faculty, staff, student and alumni training opportunities to identify and better understand the psychological and cultural impacts of sexual misconduct in the workplace
  • Enhanced training for supervisors and leaders in the school to better define actions that will be consistently taken in order to support those who raise issues
  • Creation of an internal process whereby misconduct and policy violations are consistently documented and shared during any subsequent decision-making around promotions, leadership positions, and other prominent roles within the department, school or university

Timeline of Actions Taken

  • Engaged with our community about the WilmerHale report and ways to improve our climate through community forums, school communications, and regular meetings
  • Held meetings to discuss actions and resources with school leadership groups, including dean’s leadership team, academic department chairs, department administrators, school executive committee, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, and program coordinators
  • Executive committee members presented updates on planned sexual misconduct prevention actions and asked for input from department faculty
  • Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs updated department chair selection practices and steps to include feedback from department faculty in the nomination and selection process
  • Enhanced communication of confidential resources for individual counseling/support through regular and cyclical inclusion in school communications.

    Resources include:
  • Dean, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, and Chief Operating Officer presented actions and listened to community feedback, beginning with faculty meetings in the departments of Environmental Health Sciences (November 2020) and Epidemiology (December 2020).
  • Added additional information about the school culture, climate, and reporting mechanisms to new staff orientation, which is held quarterly to ensure new staff are aware of the resources available to them (October 2020)
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) facilitators hosted four focus groups and individual meetings for community members in the Enviornmental Health Sciences Department and the Dean’s Office (November 2020)
  • Deployed an additional confidential feedback form to allow the community to share thoughts, ideas, and experiences anonymously (November 2020)
  • Faculty and staff attended the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching’s “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda: Moving Beyond Personal Failure and Actively Cultivating a More Equitable Academy” workshop (December 2020)
  • Deans and department chairs met with the Office for Institutional Equity to understand their roles and responsibilities related to handling student, faculty, or staff concerns and reporting prohibited behavior (December 2020)
  • Met with internal and external vendors to review options for climate surveys including how other U-M schools and colleges conducted their surveys, how the vendors were engaged, who was surveyed, when surveys should be conducted and how to use climate survey data effectively (September - December 2020)

  • Department administrators met with the Office for Institutional Equity to understand their roles and responsibilities related to handling student, faculty, or staff concerns and reporting prohibited behavior (January 2021)
  • Dean, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, and Chief Operating Officer presented actions and listened to community feedback during faculty meetings within the departments of Biostatistics (February 2021), Health Behavior and Health Education (April 2021), Health Management and Policy (April 2021), and Nutritional Sciences (March 2021)
  • Chief Operating Officer, DEI Program Manager, and HR Director presented actions and listened to community feedback during staff meetings within the departments of Health Behavior and Health Education (February 2021), Health Management and Policy (January 2021), Epidemiology (February 2021), Environmental Health Sciences (January 2021), and within the Dean’s Office.
  • Finalized contract with Fran Sepler and Associates, an organization dedicated to creating inclusive climates free of prohibited behavior, in order to guide the School of Public Health’s action planning and climate work
  • Piloted the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching’s “Move the Needle” session with Epidemiology faculty and staff and Dean’s Office staff (May 2021).
  • Dean Bowman asked School of Public Health leadership (chairs, associate chairs, department administrators, faculty leads, Dean’s Office leadership team) to complete a learning module titled “Creating Climates Resistant to Sexual Harassment: Defining the Problem” and attend an ADVANCE workshop titled “Raising Respect: A Workshop for Campus Leaders” (May 2021)
  • Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs reviewed and modified current practices to address prohibited behavior by faculty by gathering perspectives from the Office for Institutional Equity, Office of the General Counsel, and Academic Human Resources

  • Fran Sepler facilitated two sessions - one with school leaders and one with dean’s office staff members -  to discuss the workshops attended in the prior semester, norms in our community that help or hinder safety, respect and inclusion, and opportunities for change. (June 2021) 
  • Staff, faculty, students, and postdocs attended a new workshop series focused on learning how to create an inclusive community. The five workshops covered: how to address race in the workplace; generational differences in the office; a better understanding of gender-equality; tools to approach those who engage in microaggression; and fostering civility in the workplace. (May-July 2021)
  • Dean Bowman affirmed his commitment to a safe, respectful and inclusive environment and shared updates with our community on the university’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, including the creation of the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX (ECRT) Office and new policies. (July 2021)

  • Chief Operating Officer and Director of DEI began planning for a schoolwide working group on reporting procedures in each of the School’s six academic departments.  
  • Chief Operating Officer and Director of DEI continued meeting with Fran Sepler and Associates.
  • Established a dedicated Action Team within the schoolwide DEI committee charged with focusing on strengthening SPH’s culture of resistance regarding sexual misconduct.
  • Action Team began preliminary planning with SAPAC for the development of community support resources for sexual misconduct response and prevention in SPH.
  • Sponsored a session of  the CRLT Players’ "Moving the Needle: Shifting the Conversation around Sexual Harassment" in the DEI professional development workshop series.
  • Dean Bowman again asked School of Public Health leadership (chairs, associate chairs, department administrators, faculty leads, Dean’s Office leadership team) to complete a learning module titled “Creating Climates Resistant to Sexual Harassment: Defining the Problem” and attend the synchronous training sessions offered by the CRLT Players.
  • Chief Operating Officer and Director of Human Resources met with SAPAC and ECRT to plan a winter 2022 training series for all supervisors in SPH on reporting obligations and procedures. Three initial courses will be offered for SPH supervisors in February.
  • Staff, faculty, students, and postdocs attended five additional sessions of a workshop series focused on learning how to create an inclusive community. (October-December 2021)
  • Updated new faculty, new staff and new department chair orientations to include sections on creating a climate for all and obligations for reporting. (Fall 2021)

Resources and Reporting

If you have questions about the school’s sexual misconduct prevention efforts or would like to report an incident or a campus climate concern, visit this page for more information.

You may also contact Andrea Lubetkin, director of Human Resources, at lubetkin@umich.edu.