A look back at eight years of UMich under former UM President Mark Schlissel

2021: No more complications from COVID-19, commitment to carbon neutrality and salute to the victims

On January 19, 2021, classes for the Winter 2021 term resumed remotely, in addition to enhanced social distancing requirements after COVID-19 cases increased rapidly in late fall 2020 and continued in the winter semester.

In February, Schlissel released an email notifying the University of rising COVID-19 cases in which the University of Michigan accounted for about half of all cases in Washtenaw County. This statement follows the diagnosed cases of the more contagious B.1.1.7. variant on campus. Later that month, Schlissel revealed to The Daily that the University was unlikely to have enough vaccines to distribute to students at the start of the semester.

After two years of deliberation and research involving Ann Arbor residents, the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality released its 104-page final report in March 2021 outlining non-binding goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. This report details the objectives to combat the climate crisis by working on the three campuses to mitigate carbon emissions by targeting three main perimeters. In February 2019, Schlissel announced the creation of the PCCN after students called on the University to take action.

The Climate Action Movement issued a statement acknowledging the report’s improvement plans such as sustainable housing, accountability mechanisms and environmental justice, but made clear its criticisms for its lack of specificity and reliance on carbon offsets.

“So while the report takes some steps in the right direction, it falls far short of what science tells us is needed: a radical and rapid transition to a resilient, carbon-free economy centered on the basic needs of the most vulnerable members. marginalized from our community. “The statement reads. “The University of Michigan needs a climate justice plan, not just a carbon neutrality plan.”

In June 2021, Schlissel apologized to SACUA for the controversial survey he sent to more than 4,000 faculty members indicating whether the Go Blue guarantee should be extended to students at the U–M Flint and U– campuses. Mr Dearborn. His question implied that extending tuition assistance would be a financial and academic burden on the UM Ann Arbor campus.

On June 17, the Board of Regents met virtually to discuss extending the Go Blue Guarantee scholarship to Flint and Dearborn campuses with a minimum requirement of 3.5 GPA, although there is no requirement at the Ann Arbor campuses.

“In order to truly see the equity of the three campuses, we (the 1U campaign) will be asking to remove this GPA requirement, which only exists on the Dearborn and Flint campuses and essentially says that admission to the University of Michigan in Flint and Dearborn is not enough,” said Annie Mintun, then LSA official.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald explained the rationale for the requirements in an email to The Daily at the time. He said all students at Ann Arbor essentially have an incoming GPA of 3.5, so this initiative was intended to encourage consistency across the three campuses.

In mid-July 2021, Schlissel announced that the University would replace the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) with a new unit, the Office of Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX (ECRT), effective of August 1. The OIE previously dealt with Title XI. , harassment and discrimination, but have come under intense scrutiny following the University’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases in recent years.

The ECRT is focusing on more “supportive and preventive” measures, Schlissel said. The supervision policy was also strengthened as part of this change, as the relationship between supervisors and supervisees would be more rigid and completely professional.

“Once this survivor has made a decision on the most appropriate and comfortable path for herself, equity specialists will work alongside the investigator to continue to provide this support to both parties involved in a investigation,” said Tamiko Strickman, Director of ECRT. .

Strickman was also the defendant in two lawsuits alleging she mishandled sexual misconduct and racial discrimination cases while working as a Title IX coordinator and director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In an interview with The Daily, Schlissel said he was “very confident” that Strickman would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

On August 28, 2021, members of the Lecturers’ Employees Organization demanded that the university administration grant a median salary increase to lecturers at the Dearborn and Flint campuses. The protests come after nine months of fruitless contract negotiations between LEO and the University administration. LEO had resigned from his existing contract on August 9 and had clearly threatened to strike at the University.

GEO, who had been on strike in the fall semester of 2020, had expressed mutual support for LEO’s strike actions and threats after LEO had shown solidarity with them. In early September, LEO postponed its strike votes after university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed that LEO had extended his contract with the University of Michigan until September 15.

Finally, in a September 13, 2021 press release, the University administration and LEO reached a tentative agreement that the starting salary across all three campuses would be $51,000 beginning with the academic year. 2023-2024. LEO President Kirsten Herold wrote that the contract marked a significant gain for the union, although not all of LEO’s demands were met.

Since Oct. 8, survivors of the late Dr. Robert Anderson of the University of Michigan have camped outside Schlissel’s home to protest the mishandling of approximately 1,000 people who reported sexual assault allegations against Anderson. . Throughout 2021, survivors have made appearances on the Board of Regents, rallied the community at numerous Diag protests, and testified at hearings in support of survivor legislation. For months, the University did not respond to the camp outside Schlissel’s house, and Schlissel only indirectly apologized to survivors at regents’ meetings and to the press.

Jonathan Vaughn, an Anderson survivor and former UM football player, has led protests where supporters wear t-shirts and pins with the words “Hail to the Victims.” This sentence has been a symbol of strength for survivors of sexual assault and condemnation against the misconduct of the University and the treatment of these cases. Survivors have called for the resignation of Mark Schlissel, the Board of Regents and Paul Schmidt, the assistant athletic director who was allegedly aware of Anderson’s misconduct. The “Hail to the Victims” protests aim to fight for accountability for sexual misconduct at the University.

On December 8, an anonymous complaint was filed detailing Schlissel’s involvement in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, following his announcement in October that his decision to step down a year early would allow for a “smooth and thoughtful transition of leadership”. . This led to an internal investigation into Schlissel’s contact and relationship with the subordinate.

Schlissel’s initial departure package would have allowed him to receive his full presidential salary for two years after his resignation, a tenured professorship with a salary of at least 50% of his ending salary of $927,000 and $2 million. to start a research laboratory on Campus. When Schlissel was fired in 2022, that contract was cancelled.

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