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University of Michigan removes President Dr. Mark Schlissel after alleged inappropriate relationship with employee

Mark Schlissel
Posted at 7:44 PM, Jan 15, 2022

(WXYZ) — The University Board of Regents has announced the removal of Dr. Mark Schlissel as President of the University of Michigan.

An anonymous complaint on December 8, 2021, involved an alleged inappropriate relationship with a university employee.

The board has named Mary Sue Coleman as Interim President during this time of transition.

Read the full statement below.

Statement from University Board of Regents:
It is with great disappointment that we announce that the University of Michigan Board of Regents has removed Dr. Mark Schlissel as President of the University of Michigan, effective immediately. The Board has named former U-M president Mary Sue Coleman as Interim President and we have full confidence that she will provide the leadership our University community needs during this critical time of transition. The Board will affirm these actions during its Feb. 17 formal session.

On Dec. 8, 2021, via an anonymous complaint, we learned that Dr. Schlissel may have been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a University employee. After an investigation, we learned that Dr. Schlissel, over a period of years, used his University email account to communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the University.

In the interest of full public disclosure, we have released dozens of Dr. Schlissel’s communications that illustrate this inappropriate conduct, as well as the letter that we sent to Dr. Schlissel explaining our decision. All this information is available on the University’s website. Our community and our state deserve as complete an understanding of this situation as possible.

Interim President Coleman has the experience of leading this institution for 12 years and she will be supported by a strong team of trusted leaders, who understand and are committed to practicing the University’s values. We expect she will serve until a new President is named, perhaps as soon as this summer.

As has previously been communicated, we already had planned to start the search for the next President in the coming year and that process has now been accelerated. We will provide updates to the University community as this process takes shape.

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.

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.

With sincere appreciation.

Members of the University of Michigan Board of Regents:
Jordan B. Acker, chair
Michael J. Behm
Mark J. Bernstein
Paul W. Brown, vice chair
Sarah Hubbard
Denise Ilitch
Ron Weiser
Katherine E. White

Board letter to Dr. Schlissel

Email and text communications

Statement by Mary Sue Coleman on U-M interim appointment
Jan. 16, 2022

While saddened by the circumstances, I am honored to be asked to again serve the University of Michigan. When I left the U-M campus at the end of my presidency in 2014, I said serving this great university was the most rewarding experience of my professional life. I’m happy to serve again in this important interim role.

Mary Sue Coleman background:
Mary Sue Coleman is a biochemist who built a distinguished career through research before rising sharply through the ranks of higher education administration. Before coming to U-M she was president of the University of Iowa (1995-2002). She served as 12 years as U-M president (2002-2014) and was the first woman appointed as U-M president.

After retiring from U-M, she served as president of the Association of American Universities (2016-2020), an association of America’s leading research universities based in Washington, D.C. Mary Sue Coleman Hall, named in her honor, is the only academic building on the Ann Arbor campus named for a woman. The building is home to the Life Sciences Institute.