Student newspaper raises 40 years of claims against violin professor

Student newspaper raises 40 years of claims against violin professor


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2018

The Michigan Daily, campus newspaper of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, has published a lengthy investigation into allegations against a well-known violin professor.

The allegations need to be treated with caution. No charges have been brought against the individual concerned. He, his lawyer and the University of Michigan have issued no response.

The Strad appears to have taken down a 2016 article by the professor titled, ‘Are US instrumental teachers failing in their duties by being too nice?’

UPDATE: Accused professor goes on leave



  • V.Lind says:

    No charges have been brought against others named in this column, surely?

    The University will presumably make some sort of response. Will SD then reveal the name of someone whose Strad article has been taken down?

  • Tamara J says:

    Pluuuuease. [redacted] is a long-known grot. This is no secret.

    The Meadowmount ‘Shipps-Hugs’


  • jennykim says:

    About time!

    Wait for all the Meadowmount tales to come flying out …

    And the foreign teen girl ‘student’ who lived at his house …

  • jennykim says:

    Um, Larry Nassau, anyone?

    • Teena says:

      Nassar ….

      Um, Owen Carmen, anyone?

      • Bill says:


        The allegations in the Carman affair were about exchanging sex for money. It apparently went on for some time, and Owen was not on the faculty of the student’s main institution of study, so it seems like the student could have walked away at any point. Neither party looked particularly innocent!

  • Sick of it all says:

    U of M, MSU, CIM, College of Charleston, Utah State, OSU, and the list goes on and on in sports, music departments, and probably other units. Faculty at every school I attended were doing or trying to do this to students. Parents need to strongly and actively vet all schools and faculty who will be enrolling or teaching their students, and ask the difficult questions of the administration during audition days. It is sick that it takes a scandal of this size to bring this to light.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Nice teachers are easily forgotten. The wise masters of yore knew that their insults, humiliating comparisons and bons mots are what would be remembered, and would make their lessons sink in. Nice comments never penetrate the surface. To have a climate in which a teacher is intimidated from using such effective tools is one in which art will no longer be taught. Students have too much ego and arrogance to be good students unless they are broken down, their defenses breached. They have to be made to cry, or at least brought to the brink of tears. Then they will trust their teacher and follow their leadership. The trick is being worth it as a teacher. My teacher was. I had a very nice voice teacher in college, and I cannot remember anything she taught me about singing. There was nothing memorable. When a teacher came up with a really good remark, it would quickly spread around the school. It lightens everyone else’s day. It is comedy as well as tragedy. And knowing someone else got the stick today instead of you is a great relief. No, I must defend the teacher with the snappy remarks. Beating the student, now that’s going too far. But dating is okay if you get married.

    • Mary says:

      So is it your position that raping one’s female students is an appropriate pedagogical technique? Did you even read the linked Michigan Daily article? It had nothing whatsoever to do with verbal insults.

    • EmmmKay says:

      Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome much? Also, the plural of ‘anecdote’ isn’t ‘data’. Cheers.

  • BLB says:

    As a former U.M. student and and member of the Michigan Daily Staff during the earliest period of these allegations I can testify that this kind of behavior by male faculty was rampant, universally (if unofficially) acknowledged and accepted as a job perk. It happens in every department and has been systematically and thoroughly dismissed then hushed up for ages. I’ve personally known several accusers and they were treated like nothing less than garbage by the administration.

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    [Redacted] Remember, there are 2 sides to every story. Read the lengthy article and think about how such a thing could go on for such a long time. Cover ups can be found in every field and in every corner of the globe. The really horrible ones occur in Medicine and Politics…. In this case (ironically), the victims helped in the cover ups…..

  • Steve says:

    A little less money spent on football. A whole lot more to be spent on settling long-standing sexual misconduct claims. And ha ha sex & violins etc etc but what if the clown was a BASSOON teacher. What then?

  • Karl says:

    NY Times article from 1993:
    “Student-Faculty Dating: It’s Not in the Rule Book”

    If he broke no laws or rules that were in place at that time is it fair to punish him now?

    • Mary says:

      Did you miss the part where he was having sex with minor (underage) students?

      • Bill says:

        I missed the part where it was alleged that he was doing so with students under the age of consent. Inappropriate and illegal are not synonyms.

        I think most of us would ask that teachers engage in neither inappropriate nor illegal conduct with their students. I would prefer to fix/prevent the behavior rather than fire the teacher, if possible. I think that several of his current female students feel similarly, judging from their comments on the Michigan Daily piece.

      • Karl says:

        The age of consent in North Carolina is 16. That means it in not illegal to have sex with a 17 year old girl as alleged in the article. Plus – it’s only an allegation. It has not been proven.

        • Chris says:

          In North Carolina, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16 years old. However, there are some notable exceptions. School Teacher: An employee of a school cannot have any sexual activity with any student at that school, unless they are married.

  • Chris says:

    Here are a few pertinent facts about the law in North Carolina:
    A teacher who engages in sexual activity with a student in high school is guilty of a Class I felony.
    Consent is not a defense.
    There is no statute of limitations on any felony, including this crime.

    Shipps and his legal team know this, even if others do not.

    I can’t help but wonder if some of his defenders may have some skeletons of their own.