Court: U-M can shield name of woman in president’s removal

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan Court of Appeals declined to order the University of Michigan to release the name of a woman whose relationship with a school president led to his removal a year ago.

The name can be withheld under an exemption in the state's public records law, the court said in a 3-0 opinion.

“The public interest does not outweigh the invasion of privacy that would follow from disclosure of the subordinate employee’s identity,” the court said Thursday.

The Board of Regents fired Mark Schlissel after nearly eight years, saying an investigation found that his interactions with a female employee were “inconsistent with promoting the dignity and reputation of the University of Michigan.”

Schlissel acknowledged “poor judgment.” He said the relationship was consensual, never physical and didn't involve a misuse of university resources.

The university released the complaint about Schlissel that led to an investigation but redacted the person's name.

A Court of Claims judge ruled in favor of the university at an earlier stage of the lawsuit, which was filed by Charles Blackwell of Farmington Hills.