failed to explain a delay in a sexual assault case involving an ex-football player. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Michigan failed to explain a lengthy delay between the alleged sexual assault of a student by a former Wolverines football player and the player's expulsion last December, the university's Central Student Government announced on Sunday. A student task force from Michigan's CSG examined the case surrounding former kicker Brendan Gibbons, who was expelled from the university in December following his alleged involvement in a reported sexual assault on Nov. 22, 2009, when Gibbons was a freshman.
Per a January report from the Michigan Daily surrounding Gibbons' dismissal, a university document connected Gibbons to the alleged sexual assault in November.
An additional OSCR document signed by [Office of Student Conflict Resolution executive director] Stacy Vander Velde and dated Nov. 20, 2013, stated that it was determined by the University that a preponderance of evidence supports “a finding that the Respondent engaged in unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, committed without valid consent, and that conduct was so severe as to create a hostile, offensive, or abusive environment.” The Daily has been told that the respondent referred to in this letter is Gibbons. Complainants in this case are not identified in the documents reviewed by the Daily.
In Sunday's Central Student Government release, Michigan student-body president Michael Proppe said the university repeatedly failed to meet "a recommended 60-day period of time" between sexual misconduct complaints and school investigations. (Transcript via Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com.)
"The university was regularly missing its 60-day deadline to investigate sexual misconduct," Proppe said. "The main reason, at least initially when the moved to the new policy, was that the university didn't have the bandwidth to handle all these investigations. They took about a year to hire a second investigator to look into this.
"So that was probably the most surprising and most concerning finding, that the delay in the Gibbons case was really not an exception but kind of the norm with these investigations."
The Central Student Government also claimed that Michigan did not properly explain the four-year delay between Gibbons' alleged misconduct in 2009 and his expulsion in '13.
The report alleges that Wolverines coach Brady Hoke "knowingly issued false statements in December 2013 concerning the status of Gibbons." Gibbons did not travel with the team to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in December, and Hoke told reporters on Dec. 23 that Gibbons was not present due to a family matter, per MLive.com. The Michigan Daily later reported that Gibbons was notified of his expulsion on Dec. 19.
According to MLive.com, Hoke has declined to comment on the investigation on several occasions, citing federal privacy laws.