by Scott McClallen
The University of Michigan fired President Mark Schlissel for an improper relationship with a subordinate – a mistake that cost him his job and part of a contract initially valued up to $10 million over the next 10 years.
A Detroit News report previously estimated the contract payout total.
Last month, an anonymous complaint alerted University of Michigan officials of alleged misconduct. It hired Jenner & Block to investigate, which found “over the years” Schlissel used his work email to “communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university.”
On Dec. 3, 2021, Schlissel responded to a subordinate’s email about the Big Ten Championship about “President’s Suite briefing Info,” saying, “You can give me a private briefing.”
The communications that were released are here.
Schlissel’s base salary was $927,000 a year. In October, he said he would step down in June 2023 – a year before his contract’s expiration. It’s unclear what money he will get after being fired for cause. A previous arrangement planned him to return to the faculty to teach, earning about $465,600.
Despite the misconduct, Schlissel appears eligible for some of his benefits package, the Detroit News reported. Schlissel’s contract scheduled three annual $300,000 pension contributions on June 30 for 2022, 2023, and 2024, which he won’t fully receive.
If terminated before 2023, his contract says he vests upon termination date to “all vested contributions previously made,” and UM will contribute a pro-rated portion, the contract says.
Schlissel has to move off-campus within 30 days, and he will lose the $36,000 annual amount UM planned to give him through at least July 1, 2030, “to support your activities as President Emeritus.”
He won’t get a $5,000 “monthly housing allowance” or a personal assistant and campus parking. It’s unclear whether UM will pay his moving costs.
The University of Michigan hasn’t responded to an inquiry about the dollar amount Schlissel might take with him.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents appointed former UM President Mary Sue Coleman as interim president.
– – –
Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Mark Schlissel” by University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. CC BY 2.0.