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Statement: Allegations involving alumni and employees

Dear Central Michigan University community:

We are aware of the allegations that have come to light against Vanguard Public Affairs, which include reports of a toxic work environment and sexual harassment directed at young women — among them, Central Michigan University students and recent graduates. We have learned of a connection to one of our current faculty members; immediately upon learning of these allegations, we removed the faculty member from their duties and instructed them to have no contact with any CMU students, faculty or staff.

We also are investigating a report involving a member of staff who may have had knowledge of the situation. This staff member also has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

I have read the testimonies and accounts from our students and alumni, as well as those of other individuals who were associated with the firm. The stories of what they endured as employees — the degrading and horrible acts they experienced — deeply sadden me, and I extend my sincere apologies to each of them. They have all demonstrated incredible bravery in coming forward, and I want them to know they have our support.

I am also angry to learn that this situation may have been ongoing for quite some time.

The health and safety of each and every CMU student is my top priority — and should be the top priority for all members of our university community — and these alleged behaviors are in complete contrast to CMU’s priorities and values. Our community is built on trust, and these acts violate that trust.

The university has retained outside, independent counsel to conduct a full and impartial investigation, not only to discover what happened, but also to identify steps CMU can take to ensure our students are appropriately supported throughout their CMU journey.

At CMU, we are proud to adhere to a set of leadership standards that uphold our commitment to valuing students and putting their success first. We embrace values of respect, integrity and compassion, and strive to be a community where employees are engaged, feel appreciated and have extraordinary opportunities to make a difference. And, to be very clear, we will not tolerate behavior or practices that fall so woefully short of these standards.

If you are a current or past student or a graduate of CMU who has been impacted by this incident or similar acts, I encourage you to contact the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity at 989-774-3253. CMU also offers several confidential resources — please reach out if you need someone to talk to, and know that we are here to support you. You are not alone.


Bob Davies, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University

This message was distributed to all CMU students, faculty and staff via email Friday, March 26, 2021.