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University of Michigan Faculty Senate reverses no-confidence decision

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel (Photo: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy)
University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel (Photo: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Faculty leaders at the University of Michigan have reversed a statement made last week regarding a motion of no-confidence in U-M President Mark Schlissel.

After reviewing votes taken during a meeting last week, members of the Faculty Senate now say that the motion should have passed.

During a Wednesday, Sept. 16 meeting, the motion was said to have failed because it did not receive a majority of votes in favor. There were 957 votes in favor of the motion, 953 against it and 184 abstentions. The following day, the U-M’s Board of Regents expressed its support for Schlissel.

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The revised ruling comes after a review of the votes.

On Friday, Sept. 18, senate chair Colleen Conway emailed members of the body saying that abstentions should not have counted as votes and the motion passed. Conway said that she, the senate secretary and the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs made the conclusion through Robert’s Rules of Order, which the governing body turns to when a situation is not covered by its own adopted rules.

According to Robert’s Rules, abstentions do not count as votes.

The no-confidence vote will not impact Schlissel’s employment at the university and is largely symbolic; however, it echoes sentiments expressed by student and employee groups across the campus.

During the Sept. 16 meeting, six other motions were voted on including a vote of no-confidence in the university’s reopening plan and a call for the U-M to resolve a strike with the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO).

GEO ended its strike on Thursday, Sept. 17, after a deal was struck between it and the university. Prior to this, the U-M had filed an injunction against the organization as student resident advisers also went on strike.

The faculty senate has around 4,300 members, some of whom were not able to make the Sept. 16 meeting. Due to this, as well as some accessibility issues, the senate created a sentiment ballot for the seven motions it voted on in its meeting.

Learn more about the other motions here.

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