Update On Professor Cheney-Lippold Disciplinary Actions

Update on Professor Cheney-Lippold Disciplinary Actions

October 10, 2018

Although we just recently sent you an update, we are committed to sharing information as we become aware of it and are pleased to share some recent updates and communication with all of you.

On Monday evening, the Ingber family obtained a copy of the letter that Interim Dean Cole had sent to Professor Cheney-Lippold pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request. The letter, portions of which were redacted by the School pursuant to FOIA in order to protect the privacy of the student, is included at the family’s request, and lays out significant disciplinary actions against the professor for refusing to write a letter of recommendation to their daughter solely on the basis of her decision to study in Israel; for wrongfully publicizing the incident to the media in disregard of the student’s well-being; and for misusing his class time to improperly discuss his personal opinions.

As Tilly told the Detroit News in their recent article, “this disciplinary letter makes it clear that the University will not tolerate a professor interfering with a student’s academic aspirations, and we hope this decisive message will deter other instructors from taking similar action. We appreciate that the University is strongly upholding its student-centered values and reinforcing its opposition to boycotts against Israeli institutions. We were grateful to see that the letter noted both the harm to the student and the further disruption this professor’s actions have brought to the campus, which we have felt among our Jewish community. We will continue to work with our University partners to address the harm felt by these actions and to work more broadly on creating a more inclusive classroom and university environment”.

Our students are sharing the Detroit News article with their own message of appreciation:

We would like to thank President Schlissel and the University for taking a strong stance regarding recent events. We are grateful that the University is taking important steps to foster a positive learning environment for all its students. We also hope that the University’s response will deter other professors from attempting to limit any student’s academic opportunities in the future. Finally, we deeply appreciate the University’s concern and recognition of our community. Together, we can move forward and work with the University to make the University of Michigan truly a community of “the leaders and the best.” Go Blue!

While we know there are other issues on campus that are at the forefront of people’s minds, and this is not fully behind us, we welcome this development and wanted to share with you. We have appreciated the time and attention the University has offered to our staff and student leadership, providing us the space to share our concerns, which we see reflected in their response. We look forward to our continued work in partnership with the University.Warmly,

Kendall Coden (’19)
Chair, Governing Board
Bob Stone
Chair, Board of Trustees
Tilly Shames
Executive Director

P.S. For more information, such as University statements and press coverage, please “Like” our University of Michigan Facebook page and/or join our closed Michigan Hillel Parents Facebook group.