Dozens of UM students are staging strikes in protest of the university’s guidelines on environmental and sexual misconduct

ANN ARBOR – A group of University of Michigan students left class Friday afternoon to protest the school’s policies on climate and sexual misconduct.

Several climate activists and sexual assault survivors spoke at the event calling for a change from the current government. Student groups who organized the event include Fridays for the Future Ann Arbor and Roe v. Rape, a nonprofit student organization that aims to heal survivors through activism and promote education to prevent sexual violence.

The students made a number of demands at the rally, including that the university align itself with the A2Zero plan of the city of Ann Arbor, completely separate itself from natural gas and communicate its climate goals transparently to the students.

UM student Jacob Sendra reads out a list of demands from several student organizations at a rally on Diag on November 19, 2021. (Meredith Bruckner)

“If the university wants to live up to its mission statement, it has to be accountable,” says co-organizer Jacob Sendra. “How can you claim to serve the people of Michigan and the world and enrich the future if you continue and actively benefit from the destruction of our planet and our future?”


The students also called for the immediate dismissal of President Mark Schlissel, Assistant Sports Director Paul Schmidt, Title IX Coordinator Elizabeth Seney, and University of Michigan Office of Justice, Civil Rights and Title IX director Tamiko Strickman.

Two UM students hold a sign reading “Support Survivors” in their hands during a strike on November 19, 2021. (Meredith Bruckner)

Survivor Emma Sandberg, a senior at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and executive director of Roe v. Rape, told her story of an attack on another college campus.

“This school wasn’t required to investigate my attack as I wasn’t a student there and it wasn’t near campus,” she told the crowd. “They went out of their way to investigate my case because they genuinely cared about their community and knew that their reputation did not depend on how many perpetrators sued them, but how well they addressed the issue of sexual violence.

“This is in stark contrast to the University of Michigan. I can’t sit back and watch my future alma mater continue to make thousands of victims of Dr. Anderson ignores and fires until a group of them are forced to camp in the cold outside the President’s house in an attempt to get his approval. I cannot simply shape my daily life with stories of professors who have repeatedly harassed and attacked their students and who have no consequences whatsoever from the current administration. “


The student Emma Sandberg speaks to the crowd at a rally on the Diag on November 19, 2021. (Meredith Bruckner)

The survivor of Dr. Anderson’s abuse, Jon Vaughn, was supposed to speak at the event but had a last minute change to the schedule. Vaughn has been camping in front of President Schlissel’s house for more than 40 days, as the university and survivors of the longtime sports doctor are currently in a court-ordered arbitration process.

Read: Anderson Survivor Jon Vaughn Announces Candidate for Regent of the University of Michigan

For its part, the university recently announced “revised safeguards” for community members who report misconduct.

Sandberg criticized the university for its track record of sexual misconduct, particularly with regard to faculty found guilty of sexual assault in recent years.


A sign on Jon Vaughn’s warehouse outside the President’s home at S. University showing the late UM doctor Robert Anderson. Anderson is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of athletes on campus for decades. (Meredith Bruckner)

“We cannot call ourselves the leaders and the best when thousands of survivors on campus are unsupported and when their experiences become belittled and incredulous,” she said. “We are not the leaders and are the best when our guidelines are designed to discourage students from reporting and to let offenders off the hook.

“We are certainly not the leaders and the best when those in power commit assault and sexual harassment themselves. Today we have to hold this administration accountable. “

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