ANN ARBOR, MI – A College of Michigan professor is resigning after sexual misconduct allegations had been just lately delivered to gentle, college officers stated.
Walter Lasecki, a professor in UM’s laptop science and engineering program, is leaving his place, efficient Aug. 30, officers stated. Michael Wellman, CSE division chairman and professor, despatched an electronic mail to CSE college, employees, post-doctoral and graduate college students on Could 28, saying Lasecki would haven’t any in-person interplay with UM college students efficient instantly.
Lasecki allegedly engaged in undesirable advances, together with groping and harassment, whereas at social gatherings and business conferences, in response to experiences. UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald stated UM sometimes doesn’t touch upon personnel issues or investigations by the college’s Workplace of Institutional Fairness.
Wellman adopted up his electronic mail with a 19-page letter dated June 1 to the identical CSE group, responding to questions and frustration from the CSE group concerning the Lasecki allegations and investigation.
MLive/The Ann Arbor Information was despatched a replica of this letter, which outlines errors Wellman stated he made, together with not taking a extra proactive strategy to control and monitor pupil interactions with Lasecki, not speaking measures being taken concerning these interactions and never participating with CSE college extra actively within the means of restoring belief and confidence in them.
“The underside line is that our techniques will not be working nicely, and it’ll take collaborative effort to enhance them,” Wellman wrote. “Which means discussions the place we don’t all the time agree, despite the fact that we share objectives and ethical standing.”
A July 2020 investigation by UM’s Workplace of Institutional Fairness decided Lasecki had not dedicated sexual misconduct or violated the college’s sexual harassment insurance policies, in response to Wellman. Investigators had been “fairly thorough,” Wellman wrote, including he had no purpose to doubt something he learn of their report.
Nevertheless, an unbiased investigation by the analysis group Affiliation for Laptop Equipment, completed after the OIE investigation, discovered that Lasecki did have interaction in misconduct and banned him from ACM occasions for 5 years, Jim Ormond, ACM media relations specialist, stated. Wellman stated he knew of the ACM investigation however the group had by no means notified him or any official at UM about it.
On the finish of his letter, Wellman referred to as on Lasecki to present accounts of his conduct to CSE and the broader group as a method to assist with therapeutic. Wellman additionally referred to as upon himself to look at CSE’s and OIE’s dealing with of misconduct investigations to be taught from this example.
“Be as clear as doable about what you be taught,” Wellman wrote concerning OIE. “I do know there are essential limits to this, however think about how we’d fairly and creatively push the envelope on our insurance policies given the compelling pursuits at stake and the setting we’re in.”
Lasecki didn’t reply to an electronic mail searching for remark.
Members of the pc science group from throughout the nation even have signed a letter calling on the educational group and UM to take motion in response to the Lasecki case, together with:
- An unbiased entity reviewing UM’s OIE course of.
- Different universities and departments analyzing their very own reporting insurance policies and practices and committing to addressing sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
- Skilled societies committing to monitoring, aggregating and responding to experiences of sexual misconduct at occasions.
- Skilled societies forming teams of educated pupil and college allies who’re made identified to attendees who might have much less entry to networked energy.
- Skilled societies ought to cease serving alcohol at official occasions.
Lasecki just isn’t the primary college member within the CSE program to be accused of sexual misconduct.
In February 2020, Jason Mars, an assistant professor of laptop science, resigned from his position as CEO of Ann Arbor-based AI startup Clinc after firm administration obtained claims of inappropriate conduct by Mars. He was not positioned on depart from his place at UM on the time, and his employment standing has not modified, Fitzgerald stated.
In January 2021, laptop science professor Peter Chen was placed on administrative leave after being arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a toddler. His duties for the winter 2021 time period had been reassigned, college officers stated in an announcement.
UM has additionally handled extra high-profile instances of sexual misconduct and abuse within the final 12 months, together with misconduct by former provost Martin Philbert and sexual abuse by late athletic doctor Robert Anderson. Separate experiences from Washington, D.C.-based legislation agency WilmerHale discovered that college officers knew of misconduct by each Philbert and Anderson however didn’t take speedy motion.