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Accusers hope new school president will change environment at University of Michigan

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel speaks during a ceremony at the university in Ann Arbor on Jan. 30, 2017. Two men who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the University of Michigan are hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of Schlissel will allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims. (AP file photo)

By COREY WILLIAMS

Associated Press

Two men who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the University of Michigan are hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of President Mark Schlissel will allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims.

Keith Moree and Robert Stone told reporters Tuesday the school is ripe for a culture change as its board conducts a search to permanently replace Schlissel, who was removed Saturday due to an alleged “inappropriate relationship with a university employee.”

Schlissel’s abrupt firing and the revelations and litigation over decades of sexual abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson have tarnished Michigan’s reputation for academics, they said. The school regularly is ranked among the top public universities in the U.S.

“I don’t know how much embarrassment this university can take before they decide to make a true change of course,” Stone said. “But over time, if this continues, a degree from the University of Michigan is just going to be an embarrassment and it’s going to take a real change in attitude among the Board of Regents to turn this around.”

The university currently is in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by more than 1,000 people — mostly men — who say Anderson sexually abused them during routine medical examinations. Anderson, a L’Anse native, worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement and was director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel speaks during a ceremony at the university in Ann Arbor on Jan. 30, 2017. Two men who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the University of Michigan are hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of Schlissel will allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims. (AP file photo)