UPDATE: After our story aired The University of Michigan responded that there was and is no stipulation that Jon Vaughn, Tad DeLuca or other protesters have to leave. Claimants and their legal representation say they were told it was a requirement, but that has changed.
For 101 days, some survivors have camped out in front of the University of Michigan president’s home on campus. One term of the $490 million settlement announced Wednesday regarding sex abuse allegations against the late Dr. Robert Anderson is that the protest has to go.
“That’s a job not finished. That bothers me,” Tad DeLuca, an abuse survivor, said.
DeLuca is one of many abuse survivors who have taken a stand with Jon Vaughn, who set up the protest camp.
DeLuca wrote a letter in 1975 after seeing the late Michigan athletic department doctor for shoulder problems. The university confirmed through an investigation that he sent the letter. In it, he told his Michigan wrestling coach, "Regardless what you go in there for, Dr. Anderson makes you drop your drawers."
He says he was then dismissed from the team. He says while protesting, he has heard stories. He believes sex assault and inappropriate behaviors continue on campus.
“All the way up to the president’s office, you have things going on that are wrong,” DeLuca said.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents fired President Mark Schlissel last week, alleging he had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee.
“Once approved, we hope the settlement will continue the healing process for survivors,” University of Michigan Board of Regents chair Jordan Acker said.
Acker made the statement on Zoom saying $460 million of the settlement will go to current claimants. He did not take questions. He did say the university was working to improve systems to protect students and staff from abuse.
“What is remarkable is we have over a thousand survivors of sex abuse who refused to be silent,” attorney Parker Stinar, who represents many, said.
Stinar says because of current claimants, a university investigation found inadequate policies allowed Anderson, who died in 2008, to molest patients, often during inappropriate and unneeded exams over the course of his 37 years as a university and athletic department doctor.
Another $30 million will be set aside for other victims expected to come forward.
“Somebody has to stand up and I think the university is standing up,” Henry Hill said in response to the announcement.
Hill was a Michigan football captain and All-American athlete. He says Anderson abused him when he came seeking a medical exemption letter to avoid serving in Vietnam. He says he hopes the settlement sends a message to victims and witnesses of abuse.
“I am hoping that other people will know that you can stand up. You can speak about wrong and get it right. There are conscientious ethical people in the world,” Hill said.
The settlement is not final. It has to be approved by 98% of claimants and a judge.