On Saturday, January 15, the University of Michigan (UMich) announced that they have removed President Mark Schlissel from his position. The university stated that a complaint against him had been filed accusing him of having “been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a university employee.” The university received the complaint in December, and after a thorough investigation of Schlissel’s work email, released almost 120 pages of email correspondence with the employee, referred to as “Individual 1.”
The letter sent to Schlissel was not only a termination notice but also a scathing condemnation of the former president’s actions. “There can be no question that you were acutely aware that any inappropriate conduct or communication between you and a subordinate would cause substantial harm to the dignity and reputation of the University of Michigan,” it read. The letter continued by pointing out the irony of “your knowledge of and involvement in addressing incidents of harassment by University of Michigan personnel, and your declared commitment to work to ‘free’ the University community of sexual harassment or other improper conduct.” Schlissel had dealt with inappropriate faculty relationships before.
The controversies surrounding Schlissel didn’t start with these emails, however. A professor of art and design, Rebekah Modrak, said that this announcement came as “a huge relief.” She explained how “he has been such an arrogant leader and so dismissing of faculty concerns.” Modrak also was the main sponsor of a faculty “no-confidence” vote due to his COVID-19 pandemic policies. He is the only president to have a successful “no-confidence” vote levied against him.
However, the UMich campus hasn’t seen the last of Mark Schlissel. He may make a comeback this fall as the university has already offered him a position as a tenured professor. If he accepts this position, his salary would be approximately $185,000; however, it is not known whether or not he will accept the offer.