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University of Michigan removes president after an alleged sexual affair with a school employee

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University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel.
Joshua Lott | Getty Images

The University of Michigan removed Mark Schlissel as president after an alleged sexual affair and named former university president Mary Sue Coleman as interim president.

The move comes after the school received an anonymous complaint about Schlissel’s “inappropriate relationship” with a university employee. Officials said Schlissel, 63, also used his university email account to communicate with the employee “in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the University,” members of the University of Michigan board of regents wrote on the school’s website.

In addition, the university released 118 pages of email exchanges “that illustrate this inappropriate conduct” and also included the letter sent to Schlissel explaining the decision to remove him.

In one of the emails, Schlissel referred to the employee as “sexier” and last month, Schlissel told the individual, “You can give me a private briefing,” at the Big Ten Championship game. The three-page letter ended informing Schlissel he had 30 days to vacate the school’s president’s house.

Schlissel’s ouster comes months after the Detroit Free Press reported tension with board members. Last October, Schlissel announced he would resign from the university in June 2023.

Schlissel has been president at the school since 2014 and had an annual base salary of $927,000, according to the Associated Press.

Coleman’s time as interim president will extend until at least this summer when board members could name a new president. She led the University of Michigan from 2002-2014.

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

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