University of Michigan paying $9.25M to abuse victims

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan said Wednesday it will pay $9.25 million to eight women who reported emotional or sexual abuse by a man who became the school’s chief academic officer.

“We thank them for their courage and we apologize to each one of them and to all survivors,” the university said.

Martin Philbert spent 25 years at the university, rising from toxicology professor to dean of the School of Public Health and then provost in 2017, a job that paid $570,000 a year.

An investigation found that Philbert committed sexual misconduct during his long career, harassing graduate students and staff and regularly having trysts in campus offices, according to a law firm hired by U-M.

Philbert was fired in March, weeks after being put on leave by President Mark Schlissel. He quit as a faculty member in June.

Philbert hasn’t talked publicly about the allegations.

“The University of Michigan failed on many levels as this individual advanced through the administrative ranks,” the university said.

Investigators found that allegations about Philbert’s conduct had reached campus officials at certain points. The report said the provost search committee wasn’t aware, although a member apparently was familiar with some allegations “but did not think about it.”