Knish from a rose: U of Michigan releases disgraced president’s horny pastry emails

The former university president was ousted over the weekend.

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Person's hands folding knish
Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald (Getty Images)

I’m a simple woman, with simple needs. You wanna get me into the sack, you gotta lure me with dough and potatoes. Turns out, I’m not alone in my sensual attraction to the humble knish. On Saturday, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel was fired over an alleged relationship with a subordinate employee—a relationship that hinged on “the promise of a knish.”

On Saturday, the University of Michigan Board of Regents announced Schlissel’s firing via a public letter posted to the university’s website. “On Dec. 8, 2021, via an anonymous complaint, we learned that Dr. Schlissel may have been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a University employee,” the Board wrote in the letter. “After an investigation, we learned that Dr. Schlissel, over a period of years, used his University email account to communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the University.”

The Board went on to explain that, “in the interest of full public disclosure,” they had released dozens of emails and texts “that illustrate this inappropriate conduct.” Naturally, I read every single one of these emails and texts with my morning coffee—all 118 pages of them.

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The most notable email dates back to October 19, 2019. In the email, Schlissel writes to his anonymous lover explaining that he had received a surprise delivery. “A box full of knishes!” the email reads. “If you don’t know what these are, we can share one sometime. Think spiced potato wrapped in thin dough and baked.” Schlissel’s paramour replied, writing: “I DO Know about knishes!!” (Yeah, no shit, Schlissel.) Finally, Schlissel sent what may be the most embarrassing email in human history: “i can lure you to visit with the promise of a knish?”

God. God. I can’t imagine anything more embarrassing than having this particular horned-up email published on a public university’s website. It actually pains me to read it. Of course, that didn’t stop me from finishing my trawl through the flirty correspondence, which included hypothetical plans to meet up at a Parisian bistro and a link to a recipe for spinach and chermoula pie alongside the sentiment “thinking of you.......”

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Truly, let this be a lesson to all of us. Never, ever, use your work email for flirtations of any sort. Especially if those flirtations involve a delicious pastry.