The University of Michigan Department of Computer Science and Engineering wrote a letter asking Professor Jason Mars to take a leave after The Verge examined his behavior as CEO of Clinc. an AI startup with connections to the school.
"On behalf of the entire CSE community, we vehemently condemn the alleged behavior, which not only violates the high standards we adhere to in Michigan, but also fundamental principles of human decency," they wrote. "The Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering urges Professor Mars to take a vacation immediately until a full account of his behavior is known."
Michigan's School of Information also said that it would terminate its recruitment relationship with Clinc based on Mars' alleged behavior. In a separate email on Friday morning, a school administrator wrote: "… we believe Clinc does not meet UMSI's expectations as a professional work environment." The administrator also said the department would "periodically review Clinc terms" to determine whether it makes sense to re-enter the recruitment relationship.
The allegations in The Verge focused on the role of Mars as CEO of Clinc, an AI company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to 13 current and former employees, Mars has allegedly committed sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior towards Clinc employees and customers. Two of these allegations resulted in employees making legal claims against the company. Clinc examined these allegations and, while coming to the conclusion that "certain events that were not believed to have occurred as claimed" resigned as CEO.
In his resignation letter, Mars admitted to drinking too much, celebrating with employees, and failing to set proper limits. "I learned a hard lesson about seeing my co-workers as friends," he said.
Verge's article highlighted a case in which the lack of boundaries on Mars caused a doctoral student to complain to the school. During the internship at Clinc in 2017, Mars reportedly made inappropriate sexual comments to the student's friend, who recently studied at the University of Michigan and was an employee of the company. According to the doctoral student's notes, Mars said she had a "nice ass" and asked if she had "shaved". He also said, "She can sit on my face."
The student brought these allegations to the head of the IT department, but ultimately decided not to file an official complaint for fear that Mars would find out that he was involved. He later dropped out of his doctoral program and the following year Mars received a tenure.
When The Verge asked the University of Michigan if they would take action against Mars in the face of these disciplinary measures. The school said: “Jason Mars is an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the College of Engineering. His employment status has not changed. “
On Friday, the Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, a letter to the department: "We have carefully examined these matters and will continue to investigate them carefully … Although I have no details To share today, I would like to assure you that we will address these issues and if necessary Will take action. We work on solutions to not only address immediate problems, but also to support a culture of respect across the board. “
Today's full statement from the Faculty of Computer Science reads as follows:
The Faculty of Computer Science and The Engineering Department is shocked and outraged by the alleged behavior of our colleague Jason Mars in his role as CEO of Clinc, about that was reported yesterday by The Verge. On behalf of the entire CSE community, we vehemently condemn the alleged behavior, which not only violates the high standards that we adhere to in Michigan, but also fundamental principles of human decency.
The Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering asks Professor Mars to take a vacation immediately until a complete account of his behavior is known.
If students or other people have information relevant to the faculty understanding of Professor Mars' behavior in Michigan or similar misconduct by others, we are encouraged to report them. For reporting opportunities, including anonymously, please visit https://cse.engin.umich.edu/about/reporting-concerns-and-misconduct/[19659014fibreUpdate14February19:00pmET:[19659014ThisarticlehasbeenupdatedtoexplaintheDeanoftheCollegeofEngineeringattheUniversityofMichigan