Sunday, May 20, 2018
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U.S. Department of Education to probe expulsion of Michigan football player

ANN ARBOR — The United States Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights will investigate the University of Michigan in the wake of the expulsion of a former Michigan football kicker Brendan Gibbons for violating the school's student sexual misconduct policy.

Douglas Smith, a former University of Michigan professor, originally filed the complaint in August and received a response, dated Feb. 24, which he forwarded today to The Blade.

"OCR has determined it is appropriate to proceed to investigation on the following issue: that the University failed to promptly and equitably respond to complaints, reports and/or incidents of sexual violence of which it had notice, and, as a result, students were subjected to a sexually hostile environment.

"Please note, however, that OCR is investigating the same issue in a separate complaint filed against the University (OCR Docket No. 15-14-2111) and your complaint will be consolidated with that complaint under that docket number."

Michigan confirmed the investigation today.

"We're very proud of our student sexual misconduct policy, our prevention efforts and our programs to support survivors of sexual misconduct," Rick Fitzgerald, Michigan associate director for Public Affairs, wrote in an email to The Blade. "We will fully cooperate with the Department of Education and we believe that a review of our policy, programs and investigations will conclude that the University of Michigan is doing what it should in this important area.

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