Skip To Content
Fast Forward

University of Michigan president fired over inappropriate relationship with subordinate, including flirty knish emails

(JTA) — The University of Michigan Board of Regents fired the school’s president, Mark Schlissel, over an alleged relationship he conducted with a subordinate employee at the university. The news was announced Saturday in a letter posted to the university’s website along with a trove of emails and texts between Schlissel and the employee from recent years.

Among those exchanges was a flirtatious email from Schlissel, who is Jewish, to the employee involving a box of knishes he received as a gift. The savory, doughy pastries, which are typically filled with potatoes, are a classic Ashkenazi Jewish food.

“[I] can lure you to visit with the promise of a knish?” he wrote to the employee on Oct. 10, 2019.

Schlissel assumed the role of president in 2014 and had his contract renewed in 2018 for another five years. In fall 2021, Schlissel announced he would step down one year early, according to the Detroit Free Press. According to the letter from the board posted to the school’s website Saturday, the board began an investigation into Schlissel’s conduct after receiving an anonymous complaint on Dec. 8, 2021.

“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 wrote.

Before coming to the University of Michigan, Schlissel served as the provost at Brown University. According to the Detroit Jewish News, Schlissel, who had a bar mitzvah but was not religious, became the school’s second Jewish president when he assumed the post in 2014.

The post University of Michigan president fired over inappropriate relationship with subordinate, including flirty knish emails appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.