What exactly is going on with the leadership at the University of Michigan? Less than 2 years ago in July of 2020, they had to fire Provost Martin Philbert for sexual harassment. Now they have fired the President of the University for being engaged in an inappropriate relationship.
According to Better College Student a Provost is a:
title used at some institutions for the chief academic officer, the highest-ranking academic administrator. In a university, each college or school is typically led by a dean, who is the highest-ranking academic officer within the college or school — and the deans then report to the provost. Provosts typically also oversee a university’s faculty.
Back in 2020, The University Record reported:
An independent investigation into the allegations of misconduct by former University of Michigan provost Martin Philbert found that even in his early years as an assistant professor in the School of Public Health, Philbert sexually harassed multiple members of the university community, including graduate students who worked in his lab, and U-M employees.
Now the University of Michigan via a press release has informed the world that now-former University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel. The University of Michigan Board of Regents unanimously voted to terminate his contract, which is nice for he was fired. The board stated that on Dec. 8, 2021, via an anonymous complaint, they were informed that Schlissel “may have been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a University employee”. After the completion of an investigation in which they found “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 a letter to Schlissel they gave the following examples:
As some examples:
- On July I, 2021, you exchanged emails with the subordinate using your University of Michigan email. In this exchange, she states that her “heart hurts” to which you respond “i know. mine too.” You state that “this is my fault” and that you are “in pain too.” You finish with “I still wish I were strong enough to find a way.”
- On January 9, 2021, you responded to an email from the subordinate’s official University of Michigan email address. In her email, the subordinate had said “Oh yes!” In your response you wrote: “Love it when you say that.” You made a similar remark in an email dated April 25, 2020.
- On September 1, 2021, you wrote to the subordinate’s official University email address and referred to her as “sexier.”
- On November 4, 2021, you emailed the subordinate with regard to a University of Michigan basketball game you were scheduled to attend as part of your official duties as President. In that email you expressed disappointment that you were potentially not sitting with the subordinate, stating “the only reason I agreed to go was to go with you. there is a conspiracy against me.”
- On December 3, 2021, you responded to the subordinate regarding the Big Ten Championship “President’s Suite briefing Info” stating that “You can give me a private briefing.”
The News site Inside Higher Ed reported back in May of 2021:
“A University of Michigan student filed a class action lawsuit against the institution Thursday, alleging that administrators have repeatedly failed to protect students from sexual misconduct. The lawsuit asks that a federal court order the university to implement a plan to prevent misconduct and assign an independent monitor to track its progress.”
Wonder why they failed to protect the students from sexual misconduct, their leadership is involved in it.
To show the two faces of Schlissel according to reporting by MLIve at the July Board of Regents meeting, Schlissel actually had the chutzpah to “announce an overhaul of sexual misconduct policy changes, particularly the prohibition of relationships between subordinates and supervisors. There would be zero tolerance for someone in a leadership position to “solicit a personal or romantic relationship with someone they have a supervisory authority or career influence over”.
He even went on to say:
That’s exceptionally important because of the power dynamic…It makes it difficult sometimes for folks to effectively say no, then you put an employee in a very difficult circumstance.
Martin Philbert and Mark Schlissel have certainly left a stain on the University and their leadership.
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