President Schlissel sent this message Aug. 25, 2020, in response to concerns raised by the Queer Advocacy Coalition.
Thank you for reaching out to me regarding remarks I made during a virtual town hall meeting. I sincerely apologize for my comments and for the hurt they have caused.
My comments were intended only as a critique of the effectiveness of massive testing of asymptomatic students for the virus that causes COVID-19 in an effort to prevent its spread. The analogy I used is not a good or fair one. In using this analogy to make my point, I unintentionally reinforced stereotypes that have been historically and unjustly assigned to the LGBTQIA+ community as well as other communities and persons affected by HIV and AIDS. Again, for this I apologize, especially as it relates to groups that have been historically maligned and stereotyped. It was not my intention to disparage any community or person affected by HIV and AIDS.
I want to take this opportunity to explicitly denounce all bigoted myths or attempts to stigmatize people who have HIV or AIDS. They are not only harmful, but they also directly counter the equitable and inclusive environment I and many others continuously attempt to foster here at U-M.
I very much appreciate you expressing your concerns to me.
Mark S. Schlissel
University of Michigan