In an e-mail sent to members of the University community on Friday, University President Mary Sue Coleman announced that Suellyn Scarnecchia, the University’s vice president and general counsel since 2008, will step down to take a faculty position in the Law School.

Coleman wrote in the e-mail that Scarnecchia has played an integral role as a member of the University’s executive board.

“During her tenure, Suellyn has expertly managed a number of complex and challenging issues, and I am grateful for her thoughtful work,” Coleman wrote.

Scarnecchia, who was previously the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, will take a position in the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School after her resignation, which goes into effect at the end of May. The Human Trafficking Clinic, established in 2009, allows law students to work with faculty members to provide law services and advocate for individuals fighting human trafficking internationally and domestically.

“While our students in the classroom and the Human Trafficking Clinic will benefit immensely from her knowledge and range of experiences, I will miss her wise counsel and steady leadership in the general counsel’s office during the past four years,” Coleman wrote.

Scarnecchia previously worked at the University as a Law professor from 1987 to 2002 before she took the position at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

During her time as general counsel, Scarnecchia advised the University when the NCAA alleged former football coach Rich Rodriguez violated practice regulations in 2010, which resulted in a three-year probation from the NCAA. She also worked to centralize compliance information for University organizations by developing the Compliance Resource Center.

Law School Dean Evan Caminker — who recently announced he will leave in 2013 — said in a statement he feels Scarnecchia’s skills will benefit her future position on the Law School faculty.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Suellyn return to the Law School faculty,” Caminker said. “As a tireless legal advocate for children and an experienced civil litigator, she will be a wonderful addition to a wide array of our outstanding legal clinics, including our Human Trafficking Clinic.”

According to Coleman’s e-mail, Debra Kowich, associate general counsel, will serve as interim vice president and general counsel until a committee selects a permanent replacement for Scarnecchia. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said there is no timeframe for finding a permanent replacement.

Fitzgerald said Scarnecchia’s decision to change positions was not influenced by the recent case involving Stephen Jenson, in which the University of Michigan Health System delayed reporting the alleged possession of child pornography by the former resident for six months.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with (the Jenson case),” Fitzgerald said. “Suellyn was very instrumental in handling the University’s response to that situation and she’s worked very hard going forward with that.”

Coleman asked Scarnecchia to remain as a special assistant to advise the implementation of the response plan she and her office developed to improve management issues that caused the lapse in reporting the felony.

“I’m pleased Suellyn has agreed to serve as a special assistant to me through May 2013, to complete this and several other critical projects,” Coleman wrote.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.