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Outside expert to review University of Michigan sexual misconduct policies

Feb 16, 2018

An outside expert will be hired to review the University of Michigan's polices and procedures related to sexual misconduct. U of M President Mark Schlissel announced the review at a meeting of the Board of Regents, and said it was prompted by sexual misconduct incidents across the country, as well as a scandal involving U of M doctor Mark F. Hoeltzel.

Hoeltzel has been charged with possessing and receiving child pornography. He has also been accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a patient. Hoeltzel no longer works at U of M, but the charges against him have prompted university leaders to request help in increasing its diligence in dealing with reporting and accountability. 

"We want to understand how this disturbing situation occurred so that we can best work to prevent such things in the future," Schlissel said. Any findings from the investigation will be shared with the public at its conclusion.

There are now two sexual misconduct reviews underway, according to Rick Fitzgerald, vice president of public affairs at U of M. One review is being carried out at Michigan Medicine, directly in response to the Hoeltzel case. That review is being carried out by a firm specializing in sexual misconduct within health care settings. 

The review newly announced by Schlissel will look more broadly at the university's polices in general. The university has not yet identified an expert to carry out the review.

Schlissel said that this issue is a top institutional priority for the university, and members of the Board of Regents indicated that their goal is diligence in dealing with reports of sexual misconduct. 

"This is another effort in that evolution of trying to make sure that we're doing everything we can to encourage members of our community to report misconduct and deal with it in appropriate ways," said Fitzgerald.