Before Bollinger was president of Columbia, he was president of Michigan. And despite the way he left—setting off a not-minor kerfluffle at UMich by leaving right after averring that he had no intention to leave—PrezBo left his mark on UMich.
See, at right, PrezBo at a house party he hosted after a huge UMich football win. From The Michigan Daily:
Then-University President Lee Bollinger was sitting in his bedroom watching the Michigan-Penn State game on television with his wife when more than 1,000 students gathered outside the President’s House and began chanting Bollinger’s name. As the crowd grew rowdier, instead of turning them away or calling University Police, Bollinger opened the front door and invited the students in.
“You can stay here as long as you want and come inside,” Bollinger said as he welcomed students into the house on South University Avenue, according to Michigan Daily reports.
The 1,000 plus students packed into every room of the house.
Then Kinesiology sophomore Bob Lehrer made himself at home in Bollinger’s bedroom.
“I sat on Lee Bollinger’s bed and was watching football on TV,” Lehrer told the Daily. “I called from his phone to my answering machine and left a message. He gave me a hug and on the way out he said he loved us all.”
Here, all we get are fireside chats. At those, the only—though very appreciated—sign of informality from our president are his desert boots. (Incidentally, one Columbia alumna who has been hugged by him called him “a fantastic (if reluctant) hugger.”) Bottom line: ’Bo was very different over there.
But before he was president of UMich, he was a professor. He was actually on the faculty for some time, starting in 1973.
Hungry for data, Bwog submitted a freedom of information request to UMich for PrezBo’s course evaluations. Here they are. According to their FOIA coordinator, Patricia Sellinger, only four evaluations still exist: three law courses, and one political science course. So it’s not a huge sample size (as if Bwog would know a decent-sized sample size if we saw one).
Anyway: PrezBo’s evals are pretty roundly great, except for one item, which is reliably sub-average: “The instructor is willing to meet and help students outside of class.” (Sounds familiar.) That item was consistently the lowest—until 1997, PrezBo’s first year as Michigan’s PrezBo (and the year of that sick rager he hosted at the President’s House).
In that year, in POLSCI 312, of the 47 respondents, 30 strongly agreed and 12 agreed that they could get ahold of him outside of class. Wow.
Maybe they’d “met outside of class” at the party? Maybe they all sat on his bed and watched football and hugged?
A 1997 Prezbo via The Michigan Daily