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U-M Board of Regents Chairman Ron Weiser says “MeToo”

March 14, 2020 | Survivor Stories,UMich Sexual Abuse

It takes great courage to forward and publicly admit that you too are a survivor of sexual misconduct. But that’s precisely the action taken by the University of Michigan Board of Regents Chairman Ron Weiser.

Like Jim Barahal and others with highly successful careers, Weiser is coming forward to share that Dr. Robert Anderson sexually abused him. Weiser is one of the most high-profile victims to date.

Weiser was a U-M student from 1963-1967. When he was a freshman wrestler, Weiser saw Anderson for various issues. He did not publicly describe the types of sexual abuse he endured by Anderson and reportedly told investigators that “it is still pretty private” for him.

Weiser decided to come forward as a survivor, so it would encourage others to come forward as well. He told the Detroit News that stories of survivors need to be told, adding, “the actions of Anderson were wrong on so many levels. I appreciate those who are telling their story, no matter how difficult.”

As Regent Chairman, Weiser is also in a dual role capacity not only as a victim but also in charge of whatever decisions the Board of Regents may decide with the Anderson lawsuits. These decisions can include implementing policy changes, defending the university, and lawsuit settlements. He said he would not recuse himself from any Regents decision making, nor does he plan on filing a lawsuit against the university. Since it was so long ago, Weiser believes any probe will not hold any current UM staffers responsible as everyone is gone. For Weiser, coming forward was the right thing to do. His priority, he told the Detroit News, is “to find the right policies to protect students from abusers.”

Weiser and Barahal are opening the door for survivors to come forward. As Barahal said, “the only way for victims to heal is if they’re believed and the only way they’ll be believed is if people like me come forward,” he said. And now Weiser is lending credibility to those claims.