Amid controversy, UM president Mark Schlissel announces his departure in 2023

He will leave at the end of June 2023, the end of the university’s fiscal year.


According to reports from the Detroit Free Press, relations between Schlissel and the school’s statewide elected board of regents have deteriorated, with some members unhappy with the president’s opaque communication.

The early departure was negotiated between Schlissel and the board members who continue to support him, and those who have lost confidence in his leadership, according to Free Press.

The board will begin a nationwide search for the 15th president of the university.

“I appreciate President Schlissel’s leadership throughout his tenure and know he will continue to work hard to move our great institution forward,” said Regent Jordan Acker, Chairman of the Board of Directors, in a statement. press release issued by the university. “In due course, the Board of Trustees will meet to discuss how we will consult with our community, reflect on the future, and thoroughly plan the search for the next university leader.”

Schlissel arrived at UM in 2014 from Brown University, where he had been dean. During his tenure at Ann Arbor, he helped lead a successful program to increase the percentage of low and moderate income students attending the highly selective university.

This program, called the Go Blue Guarantee, offers free undergraduate tuition to state students from families with household income of $ 65,000 or less. The school is generally ranked among the best public universities in the country and one of the best research universities in the world.

But Schlissel has also settled its share of controversies.

In 2020, then-provost Martin Philbert was charged with decades of sexual misconduct in a university survey. Schlissel had promoted Philbert to the post of provost, the school’s highest academic official, in 2017. The investigation found no evidence that information about Philbert’s alleged misconduct was learned by Schlissel prior to the selection of Philbert as provost in 2017.

That same year, allegations emerged of an even larger scandal involving a longtime UM doctor. A report commissioned by the university alleged that Robert Anderson, now dead, molested hundreds of patients, including many former athletes, and that senior university officials failed to react to warning signs and ignored complaints dating back to the 1970s.

This scandal predates Schlissel’s arrival in Ann Arbor, but some of the victims complained about the university’s lack of transparency in the investigation and what they see as the school’s slow negotiations. on a legal settlement with survivors of his reported abuse, which could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In his letter announcing his imminent departure, Schlissel said he is “very proud of all the university has accomplished so far during my tenure as President and remains excited about what we are currently planning for the years to come. future”.

Regent Mark Bernstein said in a statement released by the university that UM “has never been stronger and this is the result of President Schlissel’s strong and steadfast leadership during extremely difficult times. He defended the Go Blue guarantee… and his commitment to carbon neutrality makes our university a leader in the fight against climate change. Only one of these successes would justify being recognized as one of the most successful presidents in our history. “

In the same statement, Regent Ron Weiser said that although “we have had differences of opinion, he has done an extraordinary job in leading our institution during a difficult time”.

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