Accused US violin professor is made to retire

Accused US violin professor is made to retire


norman lebrecht

December 19, 2018

It is reported that Stephen Shipps, 66, accused of 40 years of sexual misconduct, will retire from the University of Michigan’s School of Music in May 2019.

In an email obtained by the student newspaper, Shipps said:

... Yesterday, I received a letter from Dean Gier thanking me for my years of service and placing me on Administrative Leave for the Winter Semester. We agreed that my retirement date would be May 31, 2019. So, with that agreement, I will not be returning to the SMTD.

I ask all of you to honor Dean Gier, as he is a wonderful leader placed in a very difficult position. He has been very fair with me and is a kind man. I am sure he will come up with both a short-term and a long-term solution to this issue. Finally, as part of the terms of the agreement, Dean Gier has requested that I not have contact with my class. I will honor this requirement and I request that you do too, as difficult as that may be….



  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Definitely the right decision for all concerned.

  • John Smith says:

    Shipps and Preucil can start a new violin camp called MeadowMOUNT

  • V.Lind says:

    Well, his “retirement” is the short-term solution. The notion of a “long-term” one sounds like an impending lawsuit.

  • Emil says:

    Sure, let him retire with a full pension, no investigation whatsoever, no apology, and no consequences. Why not.

    • Joe says:

      Sure, MAKE him to retire, with no investigation either. This trend of “presumption of guilt” is astonishing.

    • Marg says:

      What struck me was exactly that – no apology, no sense of shame, no concern for the negative impact on so many. Unbelievable. I hope he ends up in court.

      • Sharon says:

        If he did that he would be admitting guilt and then he could be legitimately fired if students, alumni, or the board of directors wanted to push the issue. If he were fired for cause it would probably mean no pension.

  • Tamara J says:

    Exactly when will the investigation commence? Huh?

    Nice carpet sweep.

  • boringfileclerk says:

    Will he be made to go to jail?

  • Jan says:

    So nice to see all these abusers finally seeing some type of consequences. It pales in comparison to all the lives they have affected, but we can all hope this will lead to real change in an industry that has been rife with this sort of behavior.

    • Emil says:

      Consequences? A 66 year old strolls into retirement. He can continue to freelance, play, teach. Meanwhile, how many of his students have suffered?

  • anon says:

    What’s with U Michigan and (alleged) sexual predators on its music faculty?

  • Tamara J says:

    This guy is a disgrace! Disgrace! Serous inquiry required! Don’t let this peadophile retire with pension and it be forgotten!! Disgrace!

  • FC says:

    He should be in jail , not allowed to simply retire with all benefits . Disgraceful !

    • Bill says:

      Usually there is a trial and conviction before imprisonment. What criminal acts have been proven in a court of law here? We have a number of allegations, but it is far from clear that they were criminal acts, and the statute of limitations for bringing charges is probably long expired on some if not all.

  • Chris says:

    Though Shipps is not on trial here, those defending him should know that in North Carolina, sexual activity with a student is a Class I felony, consent is not a defense, and there is no statute of limitations for any felony, including this crime. Shipps and his legal team are aware of the law and the fact that only a small percentage of his victims have come forward. Notice he is not welcoming an investigation or looking forward to clearing his name in court.