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The insouciance of the elites

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(1) Novak Djokovic has finally been kicked out of Australia. Djokovic, who is the world’s best tennis player and an anti-vax nut, apparently thought it would be just fine and dandy to lie on his visa application when coming to the country to play in the Australian Open (one of the sport’s four biggest events). All through this affair, his behavior has been that of a man who basically didn’t believe the rules would be applied to him, because he’s a very special person. Good on the Australian government for finally making it clear that, in this case at least, he was wrong about that.

(2) Speaking of affairs, the University of Michigan fired its president yesterday. This is a wild story, but here’s a quick version (I may have more to say about this later).

Mark Schlissel’s job over the last couple of years has been in significant part focused on handling a couple of terrible sexual assault cases, one involving the university’s provost using his position to sexually harass/assault several employees, and the other the ongoing litigation over a university doctor assaulting more than one thousand people over a thirty-five year period, while university administrators covered this up.

As a consequence, Schlissel helped formulate a new university policy, that went into effect this past summer, prohibiting supervisors from explicitly or implicitly attempting to start intimate relationships with people they supervise, and requiring to report the existence of any such relationships, even if the supervisor didn’t actually violate the non-pursuit rule.

While he was doing this, Schlissel was having an affair with somebody who clearly worked very closely with him, probably in the university’s development operations. (In other words this wasn’t merely a nominally supervisory relationship, as it might have been if he were having an affair with a professor or something).

He was also conducting this affair while half the university’s Board of Regents was trying to fire him, because among other things they were unhappy with how he’s handled some big fundraising matters. The other half of the BOR basically bailed him out by striking a deal this past summer that allowed him to keep his job for two more years, and then depart with a multi-million dollar golden parachute. (All this has now been voided by the for cause firing).

Meanwhile, former Michigan football star Jon Vaughn — one of the people assaulted by Robert Anderson — has been literally camping out in front of Schlissel’s residence for 100 days now, to remind Schlissel of what the university’s negligence and worse wrought in regard to Robert Anderson’s thousands of sexual assaults on university students and other members of the community.

And here’s my favorite detail of this amazing story: Schlissel conducted the logistics of his affair on his university email account, which is subject to public disclosure laws.

The Meritocracy!

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