Now that’s what I call vertical integration

Megaconglomerate and borderline-evil corporation, Nestle, seeking to expand its health sciences unit (it has one of those!?), is reported to acquire Aimmune Therapeutics – maker of the first FDA approved treatment for peanut allergy – in an all cash deal whose U.S. dollar amount is equivalent to the total number of seconds a healthy human being in America lives on average.

As producer, provider, and consumer of literally millions of tons of peanuts each year, and uniquely positioned to add or remove amounts of it just about anywhere they desire in the food supply chain of most inhabitants of this planet, what Nestle intends to do with the company whose treatment, Palforzia, comprises capsules of steadily escalating precise doses of peanut flour with the goal of desensitizing an individual’s allergic reaction is unclear. It is certainly worrying. Not enough to the Federal Trade Commission or the Antitrust Division or the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But certainly to some!

Some estimate the treatment may net as much as $1,000,000,000 annually, generally from families by way of their health insurance. It costs approximately $900 per month or about $11,000 a year.

That 20% of participants in Aimmune’s clinical trial had to discontinue before completing a year of treatment, with most due to adverse events stemming from systemic allergic reactions (including at least one case of severe anaphylaxis), should not be left unmentioned. There is a point at which the frequency of severe side effects for individuals negates the collective benefits of the treatment. Given its FDA approval, dear reader, we know that point is not one in five patients.

Most concerning perhaps in this diffuse moral quagmire is the consequence of this kind of “vertical integration”. Putting it far more concisely than I ever could, Jack Donaghy explains the situation to Liz Lemon:

“Imagine that your favorite corn chip manufacturer also owned the number one diarrhea medication.”

“That’d be great because then they could put a little sample of the medicine in each bag.”

“Keep thinking.”

“Except then they might be tempted to make the corn chips give you–”

“Vertical integration.”


Why do they call it “news” if it’s the same story again and again?

Days before Neuralink – a company claiming to “develop[] ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers” – is set to give a “Progress update“, a special report by Erin Brodwin and Rebecca Robbins of STAT, indicates “years of internal conflict in which rushed timelines have clashed with the slow and incremental pace of science” within the company.

Of its eight original founding scientists, one of whom I would personally walk any plank for, only two remain. Former employees describe “a chaotic internal culture […] characterized by intense demands and a sometimes haphazard rush to carry out projects and, just as quickly, to kill them.”

In about 72 hours, an event described as “an all-hands-on-deck scramble” will presumably reveal information about motor cortex transcoding, primate research (why the rush?…O, yeah, we know why…), and chronic implant stuff. Probably some meme-inspiring demo with a patient. Heart warmth, incredulity, future still seen hazily in the distance.

Artificial intelligence, so in vogue, is liable to draw from the lips “machine learning”, “reinforcement”, pop culture reference.

I’ve read from this script before. Science as either boring or boisterous, as either peer-reviewed literature or as press-release. “All my life I’ve put it from me saying, Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t tried everything. And I resume[] the struggle.” Why tell the same story again? That tale of sensation – triumph under pressure! – excites the mind, quickens the blood. What is so wrong with putting a positive spin on things? Surely, we can still learn new things from old words. Whether we will on Friday, history be our judge.

In response to the report published by STAT, the company sent a two-sentence statement: “There are a number of things here that are either partially or completely false. We recommend publishing after the 28th or your article will look foolish.”


BIOMEDE 331, Fall 2020, Syllabus, a first draft

Course Description (from ABET course profile)
This course introduces the fundamentals of biofluid dynamics and continuum mechanics, and covers the application of these principles to a variety of biological flows. Fluid flow in physiology and biotechnology is invested at a variety of scales, ranging from subcellular to whole body.

Course Description (from your instructors’ perspective)
We will establish our foundational understanding of fluid mechanics through biomedical examples of historical significance and modern importance, of technical rigor and of clinical relevance. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the course will be taught via a mixture of “synchronous” and “asynchronous” methods, including continuous individual work and regular group interactions. The folks teaching in this class have never taught like this before. The folks learning in this class have never learned like this before. As such, while holding ourselves to high standards, we’ll also give each other a little extra leeway in our endeavors.

Class Times 
“Synchronous” / “During Class” Times
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. EST

“Asynchronous” / “Before Class” Times
Students will be responsible for consuming “asynchronous” content sufficiently in advance of “synchronous” activities. If unsure of what constitutes “sufficiently in advance”, start early. 

Instructors and Instructional Aides, Their Contact Information, and Office Hours Details
Professor Barry Belmont, belmont@umich.edu, Wed: 5-7pm
Professor James Grotberg, grotberg@umich.edu Mon: 3-5pm
CF, @umich.edu Tues: 6-8pm and Thurs: 6-8pm
JG, @umich.edu Tues: 11:30am-1:00pm and Thurs: 11:30am-1:00pm
JL, @umich.edu, Fri: 12pm – 4pm
GT, @umich.edu, Mon: 11am-1pm and Wed: 11am-1pm
RW, @umich.edu, Wed: 8-10am and Fri: 8-10am
AW, @umich.edu, Thurs: 2pm-4pm, Fri: 10am-12pm

Requirements
Pre-Requisite Classes
BIOMEDE 231, MATH 215 , and MATH 216, or equivalent(s) with a C or better.

Textbook
Munson, Young, and Okiishi’s Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics. 8th edition. Older editions are fine, as are other formats such as ebooks. Problems will be assigned from the 8th edition of the book and the readings of the text, a required part of the class, will follow this edition.

Regular Access to the Internet 
Because this class will be held “remotely” you will need consistent access to the internet (especially our Canvas page) both before and during class times.

Planned Course Topics

  1. Fundamentals of fluid mechanics as they relate to living systems
  2. Stress and strain
  3. Conservation of mass, momentum, and energy
  4. Kinematics
  5. Constitutive equations
  6. Surface tension
  7. Flow properties of blood
  8. Bioviscoelastic fluids
  9. Introductory dimensional analysis
  10. Examples from the cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems, as well as examples from biotechnology devices, will be examined

Intended Teaching Objectives

  1. Introduce students to fluid mechanics as it relates to living systems.
  2. Teach the fundamental concepts of fluid mechanics, including conservation of mass, momentum, and energy.
  3. Instruct students to formulate and solve biofluid problems.
  4. Teach biofluid mechanics fundamentals within cardiovascular/ pulmonary systems.
  5. Introduce concepts relating to function and disease in physiology and medicine.
  6. Introduce students to fluid-structure interactions as they relate to pulmonary, cardiovascular, and cellular flows.
  7. Introduce students to the concept of non-dimensionalization.

Foreseen Learner Outcomes

  1. Relate stress and strain or rate of strain in a continuum.
  2. Determine the hydrostatic forces on planar and curved surfaces.
  3. Construct an appropriate control volume for a given flow situation and apply conservation of mass, momentum, and energy.
  4. Develop ability to determine when the ideal fluid assumption is valid and apply the Bernoulli equation.
  5. Interpret biological fluid data and select and apply appropriate constitutive equations, including Newtonian and non-Newtonian, to analyze flow in specific fluid systems.
  6. Apply the conservation laws in differential form, in velocity-pressure, steam function, and velocity potential formulations.
  7. Apply techniques of differential equations to solve biofluid mechanics problems.
  8. Determine dimensionless groups and relate these groups to physiological situations.
  9. Model flow in blood vessels ranging in size from capillaries to large arteries and veins, accounting for effects of cellular components of blood.
  10. Investigate interfacial tension effects in physiological flows.
  11. Solve engineering and biology problems with respect to biofluid mechanics.
  12. Interpret data from living systems and address problems in biofluid mechanics.

New This Year

 

  • Co-instructed by two professors and their fleet of IAs!
  • New Homework Walkthrough, Reading Facilitation, and Commentary assignments.
  • “Flipped” and “activated” the class to account for our constraints.

 

Course Assessment
Assignments
Students will be assessed on their comprehension of content via the following. Each assignment is worth 100 points.

  • Homework: assignments to be completed individually; 14 are assigned of which only the top 10 grades will factor into one’s final grade; there is a mixture of “required” and “flexible” homeworks such that one must do HW 1 but can do either HW 2 or 3, must do HW 4 but can either do 5 or 6, etc. as designated below
    • Must complete 1 & (2 | 3) & 4 & (5 | 6) & 7 & (8 | 9) & 10 & (11 | 12) & 13 & 14
  • Homework Walkthrough: once in the semester, during class time, a student will explain to a small peer group how they reasoned through their homework assignment
  • Reading Facilitation: once in the semester each student will have to facilitate a discussion regarding a chapter of the book to a small group of their peers; submitting an “executive” summary at least two days in advance of the during class discussion
  • Video or Article “Commentary”: once in the semester, a student must submit a “commentary” with regards to either an assigned fluid mechanics video or of a self-submitted biofluid mechanics-related scientific journal article; in either case, the student must then present that commentary to a small group during class
    • NSF Video Commentaries 
      • Sept 17 – 1. Eulerian and Lagrangian Descriptions in Fluid Mechanics
      • Oct 1 – 6. Pressure Fields and Fluid Acceleration
      • Oct 15 – 2. Deformation of Continuous Media
      • Oct 29 – 3. Rheological Behavior of Fluids
      • Nov 12 –  7. Low-Reynolds-Number Flows
      • Dec 3 – 10. Fundamentals of Boundary Layers
    • Article Commentaries
      • Sept 24 – I. Inspiring on respiratory systems, breath, air
      • Oct 8 – II. Circulating on cardiovascular systems, blood, circuits
      • Oct 22 – III. Maintaining on tissues, cells, metabolics, living
      • Nov 10 – IV. Excreting on digestive and renal systems, food, urine
      • Nov 19 – V. And Beyond on curios, bleeding edges, assortments
  • Attendance: students must attend at least half of all synchronous classes 

Grade Scale
In total there are 1400 points available. We intend to use the following scale to assign final grades. If any changes are made to this scale, the class will be informed in a timely manner. 

A+ ≥ 1,360 pts;
A ≥ 1,300 pts; A– ≥ 1,250 pts;
B+ ≥ 1,215 pts; B ≥ 1,160 pts; B– ≥ 1,115 pts;
C+ ≥ 1,080 pts; C ≥ 1,020 pts; C– ≥ 980 pts;
D+ ≥ 940 pts; D ≥ 880 pts; D– ≥ 840 pts; ≤839 → Try Again

Course structure
The course is divided into two forms of instruction: asynchronous (“Before Class”) material that includes pre-recorded lectures, examples, demonstrations, flow visualizations, videos, etc. and synchronous (“During Class”) materials that will include worked examples, class participation, and homework clarifications. All will be fully remote this semester.

Week

Date

Topics and their accompaniment 

Wk. 1

HW 1 by 9/6 (Sun)

Sept 1

An Introduction to (Bio)Fluid Mechanics

BC (“Before Class”): Stay safe, stay healthy; watch video #01

DC (“During Class”): Ask any questions you have

Sept 3

Basic Fluid Properties

BC: Read § 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.9, 1.11; watch videos #02-06

DC: Example problems; homework clarifications

Wk. 2

HW 2 by 9/11

Sept 8

Fluid Statics: I. Pressure at a point

BC: Read § 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5; watch videos #07-10

DC: HW 1 Walkthrough; Ch. 1 Reading Discussion

Sept 10

Fluid Statics: II. Pressure within a field

BC:  Read § 2.8, 2.9, 2.10, 2.12, 2.13; watch videos 11-13

DC: Ch. 2 Reading Discussion

Wk. 3

HW 3 by 9/18

Sept 15

Fluid Dynamics: I. Newton’s Second Law along a streamline

BC: Read § 3.1, 3.2, 3.3; watch videos #14-16

DC: HW 2 Walkthrough 

Sept 17

Fluid Dynamics: II. The Bernoulli Equation

BC: Read § 3.4, 3.5, 3.6; watch videos #17 & 18; watch NSF Video 1 

DC: Video Commentaries: 1. Eulerian & Lagrangian Descriptions 

Wk. 4

HW 4 by 9/25

Sept 22

Fluid Kinematics: I. The Velocity Field

BC: Read § 3.7, 3.8, 3.9; watch video #19

DC: HW 3 Walkthrough; Ch. 3 Reading Discussion

Sept 24

Fluid Kinematics: II. The Acceleration Field

BC: Read § 4.1, 4.2; watch video #20

DC: Article Commentaries: I. Inspiring

Wk. 5

HW 5 by 10/2

Sept 29

Fluid kinematics III. Reynolds Transport Theorem

BC: Read § 4.3, 4.4, 4.5; watch video #21

DC: HW 4 Walkthrough

Oct 1

Fluid Kinematics: IV. Control Volume Representations

BC: Watch video #22; watch NSF Video 6 

DC: Video Commentaries: 6. Pressure Fields and Fluid Acceleration

Wk. 6

HW 6 by 10/9

Oct 6

Control Volume Analysis: I. Conservation of Mass

BC: Read § 5.1; watch video #23

DC: HW 5 Walkthrough; Ch. 4 Reading Discussion

Oct 8

Control Volume Analysis: II. Conservation of Linear Momentum 

BC: Read § 5.2, 5.3, 5.5; watch video #24

DC: Article Commentaries: II. Circulating

Wk. 7

HW 7 by 10/16

Oct 13

Control Volume Analysis: III. Moment-of-Momentum

BC: Watch video #25

DC: HW 6 Walkthrough; Ch. 5 Reading Discussion

Oct 15

Control Volume Analysis: IV. Application of Control Volumes

BC: Watch videos #26; watch NSF Video 2

DC: Video Commentaries: 2. Deformation of Continuous Media

Wk. 8

HW 8 by 10/23

Oct 20

Differential Analysis: I. Conservation of Mass and Momentum 

BC: Read § 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4; watch videos #27-29

DC: HW 7 Walkthrough

Oct 22

Differential Analysis: II. Potential Flows

BC: Read § 6.5, 6.6; watch videos #30 & 31

DC: Article Commentaries: III. Maintaining

Wk. 9

HW 9 

by 10/30

Oct 27

Differential Analysis: III. Superposition

BC: Read § 6.8, 6.9, 6.10, 6.11; watch videos #32

DC: HW 8 Walkthrough; Ch. 6 Reading Discussion

Oct 29

Differential Analysis: IV. Viscous Flow

BC: Watch videos #33 & 34; watch NSF Video 3

DC: Video Commentaries: 3. Rheological Behavior of Fluids

Wk. 10

HW 10 by 11/6

Nov 2

Nov 3

Respiratory Flows: Disease and Devices (6:30-8:30pm)

BC: Watch video #35 / DC: Open discussion, survey

Go Vote! [Class off]

BC: Read § 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 / DC: Your civic duty

Nov 5

Dimensional Analysis: I. Buckingham Pi Theorem

BC: Read § 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11; watch video #36

DC: HW 9 Walkthrough; Ch. 7 Reading Discussion

Wk. 11

HW 11 by 11/13

Nov 10

Dimensional Analysis: II. Determination of Pi Common Groups

BC: Watch video #37

DC: HW 10 Walkthrough; Article Commentaries: IV. Excreting

Nov 12

Viscous Flow in Pipes: I. General Characteristics

BC: Read § 8.1, 8.2, 8.3; watch video #38; watch NSF Video 7

DC: Video Commentaries: 7. Low-Reynolds-Number Flows

Wk. 12

HW 12 by 11/20

Nov 17

Viscous Flow in Pipes: II. Fully Developed Flow

BC: Read § 8.4, 8.5, 8.6., 8.7; watch video #39

DC: HW 11 Walkthrough; Ch. 8 Reading Discussion

Nov 19

Viscous Flow in Pipes: III. Pipe Flow Examples

BC: Watch video #40

DC: Article Commentaries: V. And Beyond

THANKSGIVING BREAK

Wk. 13

Dec 1

A Survey of Biofluid Mechanics: I. Flow at the Micro-Scale

BC: Transition safely to remote environment; watch video #41

DC: We will cross that bridge when we get to it

Dec 3

A Survey of Biofluid Mechanics: II. Flow at the Macro-Scale

BC: Watch video #42; watch NSF Video 10

DC: Video Commentary: 10. Fundamentals of Boundary Layers

Wk. 14

HW 13 by 12/11

Dec 8

A Philosophy of (Bio)Fluid Mechanics

BC: Review The Review Video

DC: A few final words

Wk. 15

Dec 18

HW 14 by 12:30pm

 

Planned Asynchronous Videos

  1. Introduction to the class and its instructors
  2. Important characteristics of fluids
  3. Dimensions and the (in)sensible use of units in fluids
  4. To speak of the “mass” of fluids
  5. Viscosity: a sticking point
  6. Surface tension
  7. Pressure at a point
  8. Pressure in a field
  9. Pressure variation in a static field, or, Hydrostatics
  10. Measurement of pressure
  11. Hydrostatics of planar surfaces
  12. Hydrostatics of curved surfaces
  13. Pressure variation in a fluid with rigid body motion
  14. Newton’s Second Law of Motion along a streamline, or, Bernoulli’s equation, or, The conservation of energy
  15. The Second Law normal to a streamline
  16. Applications of Bernoulli’s equation
  17. Energy lines and hydraulic grade lines
  18. Restrictions on the use of Bernoulli’s equation
  19. Fluid Kinematics: I. The Velocity Field 
  20. Fluid Kinematics: II. The Acceleration Field 
  21. Fluid Kinematics III. Reynolds Transport Theorem 
  22. Fluid Kinematics: IV. Control Volume Representations 
  23. Control Volume Analysis: I. Conservation of Mass 
  24. Control Volume Analysis: II. Conservation of Linear Momentum
  25. Control Volume Analysis: III. Moment-of-Momentum
  26. Control Volume Analysis: IV. Applications of Control Volumes
  27. Differential Analysis: I. Velocity and Acceleration Fields Revisited
  28. Differential Analysis: II. Continuity, Conservation of Mass
  29. Differential Analysis: III. Conservation of Momentum
  30. Inviscid Flow
  31. Planar Potential Flows
  32. Superposition of Potential Flows
  33. Viscous Flow
  34. Differential Analysis of Fluids
  35. Respiratory Flows: Disease and Devices
  36. Dimensional Analysis: I. Buckingham Pi Theorem 
  37. Dimensional Analysis: II. Determination of Pi Common Groups 
  38. Viscous Flow in Pipes: I. General Characteristics 
  39. Viscous Flow in Pipes: II. Fully Developed Flow 
  40. Viscous Flow in Pipes: III. Pipe Flow Examples
  41. A survey of biofluid mechanics: I. Microcirculation
  42. A survey of biofluid mechanics: II. Macrocirculation

 

Policies
Lateness
For each homework due on Fridays there will be a corresponding homework walkthrough the next Tuesday. That being the case, a deduction of one point per hour will be applied to every assignment submitted late (with lateness being measured as the rounded integer of hours displayed by Canvas as past the due date). If mitigating circumstances preclude you from submitting an assignment on time (e.g., taking care of your health, once in a lifetime opportunities, family stuff, etc.) please let the instructors know as soon as you can so that accommodations may be made.

In Sickness and in Health 
If you need to take care of your physical or mental health for a period of time that precludes you from participating in the course, let us know how we can best help you, but also please do not feel compelled to tell us your health state or furnish us with physicians’ notes. If you need to take a couple days for yourself, please do so. 

Our Code of Honor 
Everybody in this course will be respected as full adults capable of making their own decisions. All students in the class are presumed to be decent and honorable and are bound by the College of Engineering’s Honor Code. You may collaborate with a peer or peers on homework, though you may not share answers or copy from another. You may not seek to gain an unfair advantage over your fellow students; you may not consult, look at, or possess the unpublished work of another without their permission; and you must appropriately acknowledge your use of another’s work. Any and all suspected violations of the honor policies will be reported to the Honor Council, and if guilt is established penalties may be imposed by the Honor Council and Faculty Committee on Discipline. Such penalties can include, but are not limited to, letter grade deductions and expulsion from the University. 

Piazza Guidelines
Piazza will be used as a forum for posting conceptual questions, sharing helpful outside resources, and helping your fellow students. Please refrain from sharing detailed answers to homework exercises and focus on general concepts. Be polite and professional. Students will be liable for disrespectful postings.

Why it has been modified from years past
Lo! Pandemic ravages the nation! As such, we must keep our distance from each other for awhile and this class must be taught to over 100 students remotely, effectively. Recognizing that exams in this context would be both stressful and burdensome to all involved (and would be so at a time already stressful and burdensome enough), we have elected to instead have consistent homework, which will facilitate retention through practice without the pressure of more rigid examination. What’s more, the environment in which you are all meant to learn in this fine institution – i.e., one in which you are working with amongst yourselves, amongst your peers, amongst the leaders and best – ought to be retained for your education. In this class, it is hoped that this will be done as part of the Homework Walkthrough, Reading Facilitation, Commentary, and Attendance assignments as well as through regular “during class” group work, active participation, and office hours should you need/want them.

 

Chapter sections you are expected to read

Chapter 1. Introduction
1.1. Some Characteristics of Fluids
1.2. Dimensions, Dimensional Homogeneity, and Units
1.3. Analysis of Fluid Behavior
1.4. Measures of Fluid Mass and Weight
1.6. Viscosity
1.9. Surface Tension
1.11. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 2. Fluid Statics
2.1. Pressure at a Point
2.2. Basic Equation for Pressure Field
2.3. Pressure Variation in a Fluid at Rest
2.4. Standard Atmosphere
2.5. Measurement of Pressure
2.8. Hydrostatic Force on a Plane Surface
2.9. Pressure Prism
2.10. Hydrostatic Force on a Curved Surface
2.12. Pressure Variation in a Fluid with Rigid-Body Motion
2.13. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 3. Elementary Fluid Dynamics – The Bernoulli Equation
3.1. Newton’s Second Law
3.2. F = ma along a Streamline
3.3. F = ma Normal to a Streamline 
3.4. Physical Interpretation
3.5. Static, Stagnation, Dynamic, and Total Pressure
3.6. Examples of Use of the Bernoulli Equation
3.7. The Energy Line and the Hydraulic Grade Line
3.8. Restriction on Use of the Bernoulli Equation
3.9. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 4. Fluid Kinematics
4.1. The Velocity Field
4.2. The Acceleration Field
4.3. Control Volume and System Representations
4.4. The Reynold’s Transport Theorem
4.5. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 5. Finite Control Volume Analysis
5.1. Conservation of Mass – The Continuity Equation
5.2. Newton’s Second Law – The Linear Momentum and Moment-of-Momentum Equations
5.3. First Law of Thermodynamics – The Energy Equation
5.5. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 6. Differential Analysis of Fluid Flow
6.1. Fluid Element Kinematics
6.2. Conservation of Mass
6.3. Conservation of Linear Momentum
6.4. Inviscid Flow
6.5. Some Basic, Plane Potential Flows
6.6. Superposition of Basic, Plane Potential flows
6.8. Other Aspects of Potential Flow
6.9. Some Simple Solutions for Viscous Incompressible Fluids
6.10. Other Aspects of Differential Analysis
6.11. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 7. Dimensional Analysis, Similitude, and Modeling
7.1. Dimensional Analysis
7.2. Buckingham Pi Theorem
7.3. Determination of Pi Terms
7.4. Some Additional Comments
7.5. Determination of Pi Terms by Inspection
7.6. Common Dimensionless Groups in Fluid Mechanics
7.7. Correlation of Experimental Data
7.8. Modeling and Similitude
7.9. Some Typical Model Studies
7.10. Similitude Based on Governing Differential Equations
7.11. Chapter Summary and Study Guide

Chapter 8. Viscous Flow in Pipes
8.1. General Characteristics of Pipe Flow
8.2. Fully Developed Laminar Flow
8.3. Fully Developed Turbulent Flow
8.4. Dimensional Analysis of Pipe Flow
8.5. Pipe Flow Examples
8.6. Pipe Flowrate Measurement
8.7. Chapter Summary and Study Guide


May no victim have to answer to their assailant

As proposed [1] for the University of Michigan Faculty Senate and Senate Assembly on November 18, 2019 and ultimately Resolved by the Senate Assembly, CCRL’s resolution to revise the Sexual Misconduct Umbrella Policy (in addition to the many many efforts of many many people) at first glances appears to have been adopted by The Powers The Be. Outlined in the recently published, and effective August 14, 2020, “Ann Arbor Interim Student Procedures” from the Sexual Misconduct Umbrella Policy, procedures have been put in place to protect victims of sexual and gender-based misconduct from further harm and harassment as might be caused by cross-examination by an (alleged) assailant. 
 
Specifically, the recommendations to “[a]dopt a policy that includes cross-examination by a representative” and to “[c]reate a forum where cross-examination of the Respondent and the Complainant may be conducted by a representative trained in the appropriate scope and manner of cross-examination” can be seen plainly in § VII (A)(8) [2].
 
 
While commendable, what is not immediately clear from the Policy is how a scenario would be resolved in which a Respondent has an advisor but does not wish to use them to cross-examine a Complainant. The above cited § VII (A)(8) suggests the University is amenable to providing advisors – “the University will select an advisor to ask questions on behalf of that party” – but lists only a situation in which “a party does not have an advisor available at the hearing”. Elsewhere [3] [4], the Policy recognizes situations in which “a party or witness […] participates in the hearing but refuses to answer questions posed by the other party through their advisor”, but does specify whether a Respondent would be required to use an advisor (either of their own choosing or of the University’s selection) to question a particular party or witness participating in a hearing.
 
We ought to recognize the fear of having to confront, and discuss in detail, a sexual and/or gender-based misconduct with the very individual accused of having committed the misconduct may well lead victims not to report cases at all. The more we can do to alleviate that particular burden, the better.
 
I urge the University to continue to commit to eliminating, preventing, and addressing sexual and gender-based misconduct, to foster an environment where all are informed and supported well, and to provide a process with fairness for all. Including one in which a Respondent would be clearly and unambiguously prevented from directly questioning a Complainant. [5] Through an advisor, through a hearing officer, written on a piece of paper, typed out on a computer screen, anything, anything but directly from a Respondent to a Complainant.
 
We cannot require a victim to answer to their assailant.

  1. Curiously, the text of this resolution, originally kept at https://facultysenate.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/A-resolution-to-revise-the-Umbrella-Policy-19.10.30_PDF.pdf, seems to have disappeared entirely from the Faculty Senate website, though the “Action of the Senate Assembly” is still recorded: “Passed with 2 abstentions.”
  2. I believe the authors intend to cite § VII (D)(5) at the end of the paragraph, since what is claimed to be “described in Section VII (A)(8)” is, itself, described in § VII (A)(8). [6]
  3. § VII (A)(7)
  4. § VII (D)(5)
  5. I acknowledge there could be a situation in which a particular Complainant feels comfortable with cross-examination by a particular Respondent; however, I believe such a case should be treated as the exception, rather than as the rule, which the Policy currently leaves unclear. 
  6. Another minor typographical error occurs in § VII (B)(5): the text switches from Times New Roman to Arial where it appears the phrase “procedural irregularity that materially affected the dismissal determination” was inserted.