Violinist Stephen Shipps Has Retired from University of Michigan

March 29, 2019, 5:14 PM · Violinist Stephen Shipps has officially retired from the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance, following a December article in The Michigan Daily that described allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against Shipps that spanned a 40-year time period.

Stephen Shipps
Violinist Stephen Shipps.

Shipps' retirement took effect Feb. 28, 2019, according to a Sunday article in The Michigan Daily.

Shipps was placed on administrative leave Dec. 7, several days before the original article was published. Shipps, 66, also stepped down as Chair of Strings at Michigan and as director of the Strings Preparatory Program, a university-affiliated pre-college music program for local middle and high school students, according to the article.

Shipps taught violin at Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance nearly 30 years, since 1989. He served as the associate dean for academic affairs from 2002 to 2007 and as a member of the Music, Theatre & Dance School’s executive committee from 2001 to 2004. Before that he taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, from 1980 to 1989.

No charges have been brought against Shipps, who has not publicly responded to the allegations.

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April 1, 2019 at 02:52 AM · The good news is, Shipps has been forced to retire. The bad news is, generations have suffered immeasurably because of his behavior and that of so many like him. Shipps was protected and even promoted by institutions that continue to cover for him. Currently, eight public allegations of sexual misconduct have been levied against Shipps. We have to assume there are more victims. Charges could eventually be brought.

April 1, 2019 at 03:46 AM · I am so glad that my daughter studied with Eliane Richey at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

April 1, 2019 at 09:01 AM · I think it is a story for parents and students to take note. People who can do harm to you or your children can exist in places you least expected, and you are really the first line of defence to protect yourself.

Our community as a whole need to know this, even the reality may sound distasteful for some.

April 2, 2019 at 12:26 PM · Yes. Teach your children well, so they won't be totally blindsided and unprepared when some of life's ugly situations occur. Sure, discussing some of these things can be very awkward. Good parenting isn't always easy!

April 2, 2019 at 10:49 PM · It's definitely important to talk to your children about potential predators. However, I caution parents against a false sense of security. We'd like to think we have the ability to protect our children. But if your teenage son or daughter is away from home and they're targeted and manipulated by a seasoned sexual predator, they may not tell you or even realize they're being groomed. Teenagers simply do not have autonomy when faced with such a power differential. It is the responsibility of the institutions not to turn a blind eye to this behavior because parents are not omniscient.

April 3, 2019 at 02:30 AM · I also know that when he left the NCSchool of the Arts, there were students that loved him so much that they followed him. Makes one wonder what happened over the years.

April 3, 2019 at 09:58 AM · Of course he was well liked by some students. He could have never had such a long and fruitful career otherwise. As with any predator, victims were carefully chosen and they absorbed the shame he should have been carrying all these years. Not every student was a victim, but that doesn’t invalidate the experience of those who were.

April 4, 2019 at 01:21 PM · Very very few violin teachers are predators. The risk is very low. However, the damage is enormous if it happens. That's the balance we strike as parents, sending our kids off to have lessons. I have to wonder how many parents will only consider female violin teachers for their children?

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