Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "University of Michigan" ...

  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • In Donors We Trust

    Everyone knows that college is more and more expensive to attend. So why are college and university endowments skyrocketing and now worth more than $567 billion? We started with the University of Michigan, lauded as one of the world’s best public universities which had stockpiled an endowment worth more than $11 billion. We found that university officials invested a good chunk of that endowment – one of the country’s largest among public institutions - in hundreds of private funds across the world. More importantly, our months-long investigation identified a select group who had secretly benefited: top university donors and alumni investment advisers who run private equity, hedge and venture capital funds and real estate investment firms. After our stories published throughout 2018, the university changed its investment policies; rerouted nearly $2 million into more student aid; made new investments based in the state; publicly released university executive compensation information after losing a FOIA lawsuit brought by the Free Press; and saw two university regents (i.e., trustees) lose their elections in November to those who promised more financial transparency and accountability based on our reporting.
  • Wage Theft In the Fields

    American farmworkers have often experienced egregious abuses, but nothing is more pervasive, nor harder to ferret out, than the wage theft that results from a practice called farm-labor contracting. Found in the fields of every handpicked crop in the country, farm-labor contractors not only provide growers with crews, but also handle wages and manage everything from verifying immigration status to providing workers' compensation. The problem is, the contractors systematically underpay the workers. “Farm labor contractors,” says writer Tracie McMillan, “give American produce growers what companies like China's Foxconn offer to Apple: a way to outsource a costly and complicated part of the business, often saving money in the process and creating a firewall between the brand and the working conditions under which its products are made.” And yet McMillan — a fellow with both the Knight-Wallace program at University of Michigan, and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University — found that enforcement is rare: In 2008, inspectors visited only 1,499 of the more than 2 million farms nationwide; in 2011, California inspectors found just seven minimum wage violations on the state’s 86,000 farms. Fines are minimal: “It's cheaper to violate the law than to follow the law,” says one farmworker advocate. And wage theft is tedious to prove, requiring inspectors to interview workers, analyze time cards, and collect payroll records. That's why workers and their advocates in California are counting on a lawsuit brought earlier this year on behalf of two farmworkers against the contractors who hired them—as well as the growers who outsourced the work. The suit alleges that the contractors routinely undercounted the hours worked, failed to pay minimum wage or overtime, failed to provide safe or sanitary working conditions, and housed the workers in unsafe and unsanitary living quarters. The “collective action” suit—open to anyone who can prove he or she experienced the same treatment—may cover thousands of workers and deliver awards substantial enough to deter other employers from the same practices.
  • Academics and Athletics At Michigan

    A psychology professor at the University of Michigan taught at least 294 independent study courses during a three-year period, 85 percent of his time was spent with athletes. Those athletes coming close to losing academic eligibility were sent to study with John Hagen.
  • Danger Zone

    The Gazette investigation found that nearly half the fatal accidents on Interstate 80 in Iowa from 1994-2001 involved semi-trailer trucks. No other interstate in Iowa had a rate that high. Traffic counts are growing on a 60-70 mile stretch of I-80 in Eastern Iowa, where many of the semi-trailer trucks are concentrated. Despite the growth in traffic, state officials have no plans to improve safety by widening the highway because traffic counts are just shy of the threshold for widening the road.
  • Enron's Original Sins

    Bloomberg Markets reveals that since the mid-1980s Enron executives played fast and loose with the rules. The magazine quotes a University of Michigan professor and former CEO of American Motors Corp. as saying "Enron for years was a swashbuckling, buccaneering, wild-eyed group of self-satisfied renegades. They acted as if rules didn't apply to them." Among other things, Markets reveals that Michael Milken had connections to Enron.
  • The Empathy Defense

    The New Yorker looks at how the University of Michigan is struggling to keep its affirmative action policy in admission of students. University professor Carl Cohen investigated Michigan's admissions practices and found "explicitly lower grade and test-score" cutoffs for minorities. In 1997 Cohen was joined by a group of Republican state legislators in denouncing the affirmative action policy. Soon after two lawsuits were filed against the university, one undergraduate case and one in the law school. The administration has public stated that it believes its policies benefit the university by bringing a diversity of thought to the campus, and that ending affirmative action would be detrimental to the learning process of its students.
  • A Prostate Researcher Tested Firm's Product -- and Sat on its Board

    Joseph Oesterling, former professor and chief of urology at the University of Michigan Medical Center, was a leading proponent of a surgical procedure for enlarged prostates. He was the main investigator in clinical trials of the procedure. However, he was also a member of the board of directors of the company whose procedure and special surgical equipment he was testing. The company (ViaMed Inc.) gave him options to acquire 13,334 shares of its stock and paid for him to attend conferences around the world. It isn't unusual for influential medical professors to receive honorariums, consulting fees and expense-paid travel from medical companies whose products they write about or even test.
  • U-M extends application deadline for minorities

    The News found that the University of Michigan was giving admissions preference to minorities and used different rules to determine admissions depending on the race of the applicant.