Update: I just spoke to Mort Meisner, who is a public relations person for Steven Shipps.
Shipps has no comment on the student newspaper story. Zero.
Deadline Detroit.com reports that Shipps is on leave from his job as chairman of the stringed instrument instruction and stepped down as director of the Strings Preparatory Academy, a university-affiliated academy is for local middle and high school musicians.
The student-run newspaper at the University of Michigan is running an article accusing a University of Michigan professor with sexual misconduct.
A Michigan Daily investigation unearthed previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against Shipps. These reports span nearly 40 years, from Fall 1978 to a University-affiliated summer program in the last five years.
The music professor and future dean at Michigan taught at UNC from 1980 to 1989.
Shipps taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts — known then as the North Carolina School of the Arts before a 2008 name change — prior to coming to the University of Michigan. The Daily spoke with a former North Carolina School of the Arts college student, who wished to remain anonymous, citing professional and privacy concerns. She currently serves as the associate principal second (the second-ranked member of the second violin section) in a full-time professional orchestra. In this article, she will be referred to as Meghan.
You can read the accusations here. The allegations are not ambiguous. They involve unwanted touching and kissing.
According to her account, as she walked into Shipps’s studio that evening, the lights were dimmed. After she put down her violin, she says Shipps moved behind her and locked the door to his office.
It goes on. I prefer not to go farther here.
The authors say they’ve interviewed numerous victims. Most are anonymous sources or pseudonymous sources.
Though many of the women in this article have gone on to achieve great career success, they described their interactions with Shipps as having forever changed their views on student-teacher interaction and their perception of the larger professional music community.
Maureen O’Boyle, for example, currently teaches violin at the University of Tulsa, where she is an associate professor of music. She described her experiences with Shipps as having affected her to this day, both in her private instruction and in her general interaction with students.
I’ve sent an email to the professor Monday, but have not heard back.
The author paints a picture of an entire profession in which there is a massive power imbalance: Professors and deans serve as judges of talent at competitions, and can affect a young person’s career in major ways.
I’m getting sick of these stories. I established a few Google Alerts to feed me ideas for the blog. “Reading teacher” gets me a few articles a day. The Google Alert “teacher rape” always delivers 5-8 articles, every day, world wide.