Federal investigators to visit Michigan campus next week
Representatives of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights will meet with student groups and investigate the school's handling of sexual misconduct allegations.
The University of Michigan is one focus of a growing federal investigation regarding the handling of sexual misconduct allegations at colleges and universities. According to the Associated Press, federal investigators will visit Ann Arbor next week as part of the Title IX probe.
The Detroit News reported in late February that that a Title IX complaint filed to the U.S. Department of Eductation's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) prompted an investigation into Michigan's handling of an alleged 2009 rape involving former kicker Brendan Gibbons.
Last week, USA Today reported that a similar Title IX investigation will be conducted by the OCR at Florida State after a complaint filed in the wake of the Jameis Winston investigation. That investigation will reportedly include a review of all sexual assault cases involving FSU students for the past three years.
According to the Detroit News, Doug Smith, a former University of the Michigan pathologist, filed a complained with the U.S. Department of Education last year. He alleged that the school refused to investigate the allegations against Gibbons -- who was expelled Dec.19, 2013 -- and claimed that "the grievance procedure does not fully comply with Title IX." Smith has reportedly been one of the "loudest voices demanding that the university investigate the alleged rape."
The Michigan Daily reports that the university's Title IX coordinator sent an email Friday to students, faculty and staff announcing the investigators' campus visit.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the representatives of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights will meet with student groups and hold open houses for members of the campus community April 15-17.
Michigan head coach Brady Hoke released a statement earlier this year in response to questions regarding how Gibbons' situation was handled by the football program.
"Michigan Athletics has no influence over any part of a review of a potential violation of University's student code of conduct -- not the process, the investigation or the timing of the resolution," Hoke said. "In general, while we may be aware of an ongoing proceeding, we always strive to balance transparency with privacy.
"Our usual approach is to not issue discipline related to a student's standing on the team before the University's process runs its course and the outcome has been determined. We will always respect the rights and confidentiality of the process and the parties involved. One way we do that is by not discussing the details of student disciplinary matters."
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