University of Michigan Fires President After He Used University Email To Send ‘Inappropriate’ Messages To Subordinate


The University of Michigan fired its president Saturday for having a years-long affair with a subordinate and sending “inappropriate” messages to her on his university email.

The university’s Board of Regents made the decision after receiving an anonymous complaint in December that Dr. Mark Schlissel has “been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a University employee,” according to a press release. A three-page termination letter that cited five emails he sent concluded his “interactions with the subordinate were inconsistent with promoting the dignity and reputation of the University of Michigan.”

“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,” the board said Saturday night announcing the removal of the president.

Additionally, the university released 118 pages of communications between Schlissel and an unnamed school employee. The dozens of emails reveal that Schlissel sent flirtatious messages, ordered food, and discussed travel plans.

The Board of Regents found Dr. Mark Schlissel “used his University email account to communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the University.”

In a September 2021 email, he referred to the school employee as “sexier.”

In an email on April 2020 and January 2021, the employee wrote “Oh yes,” and Schlissel responded, “Love it when you say that” and “I like it when you say that.”

“These emails demonstrate that you were communicating with a subordinate through the University of Michigan email system using an inappropriate tone and inappropriate language,” reads the termination letter sent Saturday. “They also demonstrate that you were using official University of Michigan business as a means to pursue and carry out a personal relationship with a subordinate.”

The letter notes that Schlissel’s behavior was “particularly egregious” due to his involvement in handling harassment at Michigan and professed commitment to preventing sexual misconduct on campus.

Schlissel — who is married to Monica Shwebs, with whom he has four children, according to Ann Arbor News — had served as the university’s president since 2014. Ex- University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman will serve as interim president, the Board of Regents announced Saturday.

The news comes after Schlissel announced in October that he would step down from his position in June 2023, slightly before his term was set to conclude, The Michigan Daily reported at the time.

View the communications here.