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Published: Friday, 1/31/2014

University of Michigan president says sports do no influence misconduct investigations


ANN ARBOR — The outgoing president of the University of Michigan today posted a statement to the school's Web site debunking rumors concerning the athletic department's possible influence over an investigation involving a former UM athlete.

Brendan Gibbons, a kicker on the Michigan football team, was expelled last month for a violation of the school's student sexual misconduct policy, stemming from a 2009 incident.

"Athletics has no influence over sexual misconduct investigations or the academic standing of student athletes," read a statement from UM president Mary Sue Coleman. "No unit or individual on our campus has any influence over the investigations carried out by the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE).

"OIE is charged with conducting fair and impartial internal investigations involving allegations of discrimination and harassment, including allegations of sexual misconduct.

"Our policies and processes mandate a thorough and fair handling of any allegations of student sexual misconduct. The University of Michigan takes this responsibility very seriously."

Gibbons has not responded to comment regarding the report of his expulsion. Citing federal privacy laws, the Michigan athletic department has not commented on Gibbons or his academic status.

Michigan implemented its current policy in the August of 2013, and these are Coleman's first comments regarding the policy. Coleman will retire in July and will be replaced as president by Mark S. Schlissel, the provost of Brown University.

RELATED: Link to Coleman's statement and previous UM statements

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