The faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan wrote a letter calling on Professor Jason Mars to take leave following an investigation by The edge in his behavior as CEO of Clinc, an AI startup with links to the school.
“On behalf of the entire CSE community, we strongly condemn the alleged behavior, which violates not only the high standards that we hold ourselves in Michigan, but also the basic principles of human decency”. “The Department of Computer Science and Technology is calling on Professor Mars to take immediate leave until a full report of his behavior is known.”
Michigan’s School of Information also said it suspended its recruitment relationship with Clinc because of Mars’ alleged behavior. In a separate e-mail on Friday morning, a school administrator wrote “… our opinion is that Clinc does not meet UMSI’s expectations as a professional work environment.” The manager also said that the department “would periodically review Clinc’s circumstances” to see if it would be useful to reopen the recruitment relationship.
The allegations The edgeThe research focused on Mars’ role as CEO of Clinc, an AI company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to 13 current and former employees, Mars has reportedly engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior with Clinc employees and clients. Two of these allegations have resulted in employees filing legal claims against the company. Clinc investigated these claims, and although they concluded that “certain events that were claimed not to have occurred were not as claimed,” Mars resigned.
In his letter of resignation, Mars admitted too much to drink, to party with employees and not to set the right limits. “I learned a hard lesson about seeing my employees as friends,” he said.
The edgeThe article emphasized a case in which Mars’s lack of borders led a PhD student to file a complaint with the school. In 2017, while the student was doing an internship at Clinc, Mars would have made inappropriate sexual comments about the student’s girlfriend, who recently graduated from the University of Michigan and a company employee. According to the doctoral student’s notes, Mars said she had a “nice ass” and asked if she “shaved.” He also said, “She can sit on my face.”
The student brought these allegations to the head of the computer science department, but finally decided not to make an official complaint for fear that Mars would learn that he was involved. He later stopped his promotion program and the following year Mars got a permanent appointment.
When The edge Initially, the University of Michigan asked if it would take disciplinary action against Mars in light of these allegations, the school said: “Jason Mars is 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 engineering college, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, wrote a letter to the department, saying: “We have continued to look carefully at these issues … Although I have no details to share today, Wil I assure you that we will address these issues and take action where necessary. We are working on solutions that not only address immediate problems, but also support a culture of respect throughout the college. “
The full statement from the IT department is below:
The faculty of the Computer Science and Engineering division is shocked and outraged by the alleged behavior of our colleague Jason Mars in his role as CEO of Clinc, reported yesterday by The Verge. On behalf of the entire CSE community, we condemn the alleged behavior, which violates not only the high standards we hold ourselves in Michigan, but also the basic principles of human decency.
The Department of Computer Science and Technology calls on Professor Mars to take immediate leave until a full report of his behavior is known.
If students or anyone else has information that is relevant to the faculty’s understanding of Professor Mars’ behavior in Michigan, or any other misconduct by others, we encourage them to come forward. Lanes for reporting, including anonymous, are available at https://cse.engin.umich.edu/about/reporting-concerns-and-misconduct/
Update February 14, 19:00 ET: This article has been updated with a statement from the dean of the college of engineering at the University of Michigan.