Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, February 17, 2012

Regents mandate external review of medical resident case

The Board of Regents on Thursday spelled out how it expects the university to respond to the case of a former medical resident in the U-M Health System facing child pornography charges.

Regent S. Martin Taylor, who introduced a resolution at the start of Thursday’s meeting, called the case one that is “unacceptable to the regents and that we, the regents, feel we must do everything within our power to ensure that it is not repeated.”

The resolution, unanimously approved by regents, says that:

• The regents will assume control and responsibility for the university’s corrective actions.

• An externally-driven investigation must be conducted to determine individual accountability and any further action.

• Management experts or consultants must be retained to examine the organizational setup for law enforcement and investigations on campus.

• “9-1-1 must be fixed ASAP,” Taylor said. When people call, it should be clear who they are talking to and under what authority. Currently, 9-1-1 calls made from phones in the Health System are answered by Hospital Security, while 9-1-1 calls elsewhere on campus are answered by the U-M Department of Public Safety.

Taylor’s motion directed Board of Regents Chair Denise Ilitch and President Mary Sue Coleman to develop candidates from outside organizations to carry out the directives. Regents will pick the outside experts.

In response to the resolution, Coleman said she shared the board’s concerns and appreciated the board’s “deep commitment to leaving no stone unturned in this matter.

“As I said last week, this situation and the underlying issues it revealed are unacceptable. We will take any additional steps necessary based on what we learn in the weeks to come.”

One week ago, the university released a detailed report by University Audits on a six-month delay in properly responding to the suspicion that a medical resident possessed child pornography on a flash drive he brought to work at the Health System. Coleman then called the delay "a serious failure on the part of our institution."

There were these other developments in the case:

• On Thursday the former resident, Dr. Stephen Jenson, was arraigned in U.S. District Court on federal charges of receipt and possession of child pornography. The federal charges replace the similar state changes that were brought Dec. 17, 2011, and dismissed Thursday. The federal charges remain based on the Department of Public Safety investigation.

• On Monday the Joint Commission notified the university that the independent accrediting agency had reviewed the Health System’s response to the Jenson incident and determined that it would take no further action at this time. The university continues to prepare a response to the U.S. Department of Education’s request for information on the incident.

• The university will post on its website responsive documents or action taken as part of the management response to the University Audits report. That information can be found at