On Tuesday evening, the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government met to discuss University President Mark Schlissel’s retirement contract as well as plans to address food insecurity on campus.
CSG passed a resolution condemning and confronting the Board of Regents and President Mark Schlissel for Schlissel’s exit package, which will allow him to receive his presidential salary of nearly one million a year for two years after his resignation. The resolution asks the University’s administration to renegotiate the contract to make it “fair and reasonable.”
Schlissel will step down from his role as University President in June 2023, a year earlier than previously planned. After June 2023, Schlissel will become a special advisor for one year and receive a monthly $5,000 housing stipend in addition to his current presidential salary during his time in this position. In the event a candidate is found and elected before May 20, 2023, Schlissel will step down as president immediately and start his new role as special advisor.
Once Schlissel completes his term as a special advisor, he will be on paid leave for one year before returning as a tenured professor in the Microbiology & Immunology department. His tenure package includes an office, a research lab, an assistant and $2 million dollars to use toward U-M goals that he can start using while a special advisor. Schlissel will receive no more than half of his presidential salary during his tenured position.
Engineering junior Zaynab Elkolaly emphasized during the meeting that there was a consensus among students on campus that they were displeased with Schlissel’s retirement package.
“There was really no debate on this resolution,” Elkolaly said. “It passed very quickly.”
LSA senior Vincent Pinti, who sponsored the resolution, said Schlissel’s retirement package was frustrating to students, who experienced a tuition increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether that is going towards the installation of his own private personal lab facility or in terms of his direct salary, (it) is quite ridiculous considering University students have just experienced a 1.8% tuition hike and this is what our money is going towards,” Pinti said.
Pinti also said this money was inconsiderate given the number of other issues on campus that require funding, such as food insecurity, housing affordability and annual tuition increases during the pandemic.
“So basically, he’s getting everything he wants, getting more money, and doing less work, which is not equitable or reasonable,” Pinti said. “So I think it’s a slap in the face of students.”
In a recent interview with The Daily, Schlissel discussed the role of the Board of Regents in his decision to step down from his position and addressed the criticism he received from students about the amount of money from his package.
“It seems like a fair way forward to the board and to me,” Schlissel said in a previous interview with The Daily. “That’s basically it. It’s not new. The agreement itself that you’re referring to is new, but the terms are really basically the terms of my renewal back in 2018.
Engineering senior Carla Voigt also discussed her concerns about the exit package.
“I think that a main concern of mine is … this contract existing prior to the update of the length of his term,” Voigt said. “We have heard in conversations with administrators that everything has stayed the same, except the date was moved up.”
The Assembly then moved to passing a motion to transfer $16,000 from the Wolverine Consulting Group to the Student Organization Funding Committee.
CSG also discussed a resolution for the Office of Student Life and Michigan Dining to implement a “swipe-it-forward” meal program allowing students to donate unused meal swipes to other students. The resolution did not pass and was instead referred back to the committees.
Joseph Lobodzinski, LSA senior and sponsor of the “swipe-it-forward” resolution, said the purpose of the resolution was to help address food insecurity across campus by allowing students to donate their meal plans.
“Basically what I want this resolution to do is to advocate for what the previous assembly tried to pass, which was implementing a sort of “swipe-it-forward” meal program here at the University of Michigan,” Lobodzinski said. “And within that bank, students who do not have meal plans (who) are facing food insecurity can apply for a certain number of these meal swipes that have been donated through (the program).”
Another resolution asking the Office of Student Life and University Housing to raise wages for community center assistants working in on-campus residence halls passed unanimously.
The following confirmations were also passed with unanimous consent: LSA sophomore Lily Kwak as SMTD Representative, Engineering senior Deanna Hunt as Deputy Policy Advisor for Sexual Assault Prevention and Engineering senior Ilhan Onder as DPA for Academic Affairs. Rackham student Claire Liu accepted the role for CSG’s Leadership Committee.
Daily Staff Reporter Nirali Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that CSG passed a motion to transfer $9,000 from the Wolverine Consulting Group Chair to the Student Organization Funding Committee. The resolution was amended to $16,000 and was transferred from the entire WCG, not just the Chair.