University of Michigan Fires Its President, Mark Schlissel, Over Inappropriate Relationship with Subordinate

An anonymous complaint was filed against the University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel in December. (Credit…Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

The president of the University of Michigan, Mark S. Schlissel, has been fired for having a relationship with a subordinate that the university’s Board of Regents said violated university policy and was carried out “in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university.”

The board terminated Dr. Schlissel’s employment effective immediately after a special meeting on Saturday, ordering him to return all university property and canceling an agreement that would have continued paying him his base salary of $927,000 for two years after his contract was supposed to end in 2023.

The board named a former president, Mary Sue Coleman, as interim president.

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In a letter to Dr. Schlissel on Saturday informing him that he was being fired, the board said that it had received an anonymous complaint on Dec. 8 that Dr. Schlissel had been involved in an inappropriate sexual affair with a subordinate.

“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,” the letter said.

Allegations of sexual misconduct in academia are not rare, but they more commonly involve students and professors, not university presidents. Dr. Schlissel’s firing is notable because it involved the leader of one of the country’s most prestigious universities.

Dr. Schlissel, who is married and has four grown children, according to his university biography as of Jan. 1, could not be reached for comment.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Anemona Hartocollis

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