Stephen Shipps, former U of Michigan violin professor, sentenced to prison for sexual misconduct

Posted on: April 18, 2022

“Former University of Michigan violin professor Stephen Shipps was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a 16-year-old student during a trip to New York 20 years ago,” writes Robert Snell in Friday’s (4/15) Detroit News (MI). “Shipps, 69, is among at least seven UM faculty members in recent years to be accused of sexual misconduct, but among the first to face prison time. He is also named as a defendant in another lawsuit, alleging he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at an arts school in North Carolina before he joined UM…. The sentence fell short of the punishment sought by prosecutors … [who] sought a 68-month sentence while Shipps’ lawyer tried to keep him out of prison, arguing the former UM professor battled alcoholism and fell victim to a ‘toxic’ culture of substance abuse in the classical music community…. Shipps retired from UM in February of 2019. He was a professional violinist with orchestras and symphonies between 1973 and 1980 in Cleveland, Dallas and Omaha…. In 1980, Shipps became a full-time violin instructor at the North Carolina School of the Arts. The lawsuit alleges he sexually assaulted the 16-year-old girl while teaching there. Shipps joined UM in 1989.”