Even with improved policies that include allegations of sexual misconduct, the Ann Arbor campus only earns a “C”
FIRE evaluated universities like UM, Harvard, and Stanford on their policies for considering allegations of misconduct and gave each a numerical rating of recognized rights. A university can earn anywhere from zero to 20 points. FIRE looked at how the Ann Arbor campus has responded to two separate types of allegations: those that involve sexual misconduct and those that don’t. UM received a score of 12 out of 20 for its policies on allegations of sexual misconduct, an improvement from 2018, when it received just 8 points. But its score on the policies governing other claims dropped, from 12 to 10. This gave the university a “C.”
The FIRE scoring system is based on 10 components of due process. They include:
- The presumption of innocence is meaningful
- The right to question the accused
- The right to present evidence on behalf of the person
- The right to have sufficient time to review the evidence supporting the allegation, prior to any disciplinary hearing
- The right to appeal the opposing ruling
UM has been shamed for not having a policy allowing individuals accused of sexual misconduct to submit all relevant evidence to a fact finder. It also failed the standard that any expulsion be supported by clear and convincing evidence or by unanimous committee approval.
Most of the 53 institutions in the report have two types of policies that cover allegations of sexual misconduct: those governed by Title IX and those not. According to FIRE, a university is more likely to recognize due process rights if a case of alleged misconduct is covered by Article IX. This is a federal rule that applies to organizations that receive federal funding.
The University of Michigan is one of only four institutions that do not exempt certain allegations of sexual misconduct from protections under Title IX.
CapCon has reached out to Rick Fitzgerald, the university’s Vice President for Public Affairs. Fitzgerald said the university has changed its policies on allegations of sexual and gender-based misconduct to keep up with changes in local, state and federal regulations. CapCon also referred to the September 23, 2021 issue of The University Record which describes the most recent changes at the university.