The University of Michigan has reached a settlement with students seeking to change how the school addresses and prevents sexual misconduct on campus.
According to National Public Radio, the university has agreed to create and fund a multidisciplinary committee designed to shield students and staff from sexual predators.
The Coordinated Community Response Team, says The Associated Press, will be comprised of about 30 members, including Title IX experts, sexual misconduct investigators, and experienced academic faculty and staff.
Once it is formed, the CCRT will meet at least three times per year to “assess, plan, monitor and evaluate sexual misconduct prevention and response efforts.”
Nancy Cantalupo, an assistant professor of law at Wayne State University, told The Associated Press that the Coordinated Community Response Team also aims to integrate survivors’ opinions, input, and special recommendations.
“I think most importantly, it has representation from students and survivors,” Cantalupo said. “They will all have a seat at the table alongside the other experts that are on the CCRT.”
“And that will give them a direct line into the administration—and the upper levels of the administration—in terms of communicating their concerns and their needs,” she said.
The Detroit Free Press notes that the lawsuit was first filed in May 2021.
The complaint was among the first brought against the University of Michigan after students and former school officials publicly accused the late Dr. Robert Anderson of widespread sexual misconduct.
Anderson, who worked with many of the school’s sports teams, allegedly sexually assaulted hundreds—perhaps even thousands–of primarily male athletes between 1966 and 2003.
While some student athletes escalated concerns about Anderson’s inappropriate medical practices, these complaints were largely ignored by athletics officials and University of Michigan administrators.
The Detroit Free Press reports that this lawsuit—unlike a massive collection of other individual lawsuits filed by Anderson survivors, which were recently settled for a total of $490 million—was filed by a current University of Michigan student, Josephine Graham.
“It’s a first step in establishing more accountability, transparency, and importantly, community decision making when it comes to the history of sexual misconduct and then the policies and procedures being implemented to address this issue on campus,” Graham said in a statement.
However, The Associated Press notes that some aspects of the settlement, including the creation of the Coordinated Community Response Team, still requires approval from U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, who is overseeing the case.