State Watch

University of Michigan president removed over alleged ‘inappropriate relationship’ with school employee

University of Michigan’s Board of Regents will remove President Mark Schlissel from his position following allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with an employee at the school.

After Schlissel’s removal, school officials will appoint a former University of Michigan president, Mary Sue Coleman, as Interim President, according to a Saturday announcement from the board. The board said it will affirm the decision at its Feb. 17 session, but that the removal is “effective immediately.”

The board said it opened an investigation into Schlissel on Dec. 8 after it received an anonymous complaint that the president was involved in a relationship with a university employee.

The investigation found that over a period of years, Schlisslel used his school email account to communicate with the employee in a “manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the University,” according to the board.

“Each one of us, as members of the Board of Regents, aspire to create an environment where everyone in our community is able to thrive and achieve their best work, and where all feel safe and respected,” the board said. “We understand the decisions announced today are unexpected and this kind of abrupt change can be especially difficult. We take our constitutional role as a governing board seriously and we all agree that this decision is in the best interest of the University we care about so deeply.”

Citing “the interest of full public disclosure,” the board released dozens of emails and messages allegedly exchanged by Schlissel and the employee, including one in which the president told the employee to “give me a private briefing.”

The university had a policy in place that prohibited a supervisor from having an “intimate relationship” with someone they have authority over.

Schlissel was hired as president in 2014 and had his contract renewed in 2018 for five more years, according to the Detroit Free Press. He had announced in 2021 he would step down in 2023.

Coleman, who previously stepped down from the position in 2014, released a statement saying she was “honored” to be the interim president.

“While saddened by the circumstances, I am honored to be asked to again serve the University of Michigan,” she said.

State Watch