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UMich president, who fought release of anti-Trump emails, expected on Harvard president shortlist

Support for Trump critics, contempt for Trump supporters

The University of Michigan fought for nearly a year to prevent the release of President Mark Schlissel’s emails denouncing Donald Trump during his presidential campaign and shortly after his improbable victory.

It lost the legal battle, and the public learned that Schlissel was saying similar things privately as publicly, including mocking Trump supporters after the election “who now feel marginalized and ostracized” on campus.

Now Schlissel is likely on Harvard University’s shortlist for its next university president, the dean of its medical school tells The Harvard Crimson.

As a physician, Schlissel is one of several “life scientists” that Dean George Daley “expects” have made the private “under-20″ list previously reported by the Crimson. Others include former Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim, now head of the World Bank; Harvard Provost Alan Garber; and geneticist Eric Lander, president of the Broad Institute, a joint biomedical venture between Harvard and MIT.

Daley confirmed he doesn’t have “direct knowledge” of the search but said he has argued to the committee, which has consulted him, that “we would be very well served in the future to have a scientist as president.” Harvard’s last scientist president, Bryant Conant, served from 1933 to 1953.

MORE: Deadbeat UMich deposits FOIA request money, stalls FOIA request

Schlissel’s short term at UMich has been full of controversy.

The day after the 2016 election, he told a group of protesters that 90 percent of students voted for someone “other than Trump,” meaning they “rejected the kind of hate and the fractiousness and the longing for some kind of idealized version of a non-existent yesterday that was expressed during the campaign.”

That sparked a campus petition against Schlissel that said he was pouring fuel on the fire of anti-conservative sentiment on campus. He offered students upset by Trump’s election – the overwhelming majority of campus – an “open space of support” in the university’s multiethnic student center, but nothing for Trump voters subject to constant hostility from classmates and professors.

Schlissel also handpicked a new “chief diversity officer” with a whopping $385,000 salary (about $40,000 more than the official earned in another new position, “vice provost”).

One of Schlissel’s first acts as president was a $400,000 effort to move a single tree out of the way of a construction project, right as tuition and fees were being hiked.

Read the Crimson article.

MORE: Schlissel tells protesters Trump voters support ‘hate,’ ‘fractiousness’

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