(Shelby Lubienski/MJ)

By ERICK LEHMAN, Managing Editor

University of Michigan athletics, both from the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses, was a topic of conversation when University President Mark Schlissel visited campus for his annual open forum last week.

Schlissel announced that new UM-Ann Arbor athletic director Warde Manuel would begin his duties in mid-March for an on-board period.

“I have to learn the nature of how the athletics department in Ann Arbor interacts with student athletes and students in general on other campuses,” Schlissel said. “I’ll put that on our list of things to discuss as he on-boards.”

UM-Dearborn has used UM-Ann Arbor facilities in the past, most recently last December, when the women’s basketball team took on Albion College at Crisler Center. In 2010, the ice hockey team played an outdoor game at Michigan Stadium.

Schlissel hopes to continue to allow UM-Dearborn athletics to utilize the facilities that Ann Arbor offers.

“One of the challenges we’re actually making progress on is athletics — intercollegiate athletics; The way the budget works is they generate revenue and they support themselves with no money from tuition, no money from the state,” Schlissel said. “When we renovate, the athletic department is responsible, as a result what they try to do is rent out the facilities when teams aren’t using them. What we’ve done the past few years is that we make it so our own students get first call on the facilities as opposed to an outside organization.”

Schlissel noted that he would like to allow athletics and the athletic department from Dearborn to have prioritized access to the facilities in Ann Arbor when they are not being used by the intercollegiate athletes there.

When Schlissel was asked about the best features of the interaction between the two campuses, UM-Dearborn Chancellor Dan Little spoke of the equipment donations from Ann Arbor.

“It’s been a very generous relationship regarding equipment,” Little said. “That has been very valuable, except that Ann Arbor players are bigger than our players.”

“All of those things are wonderful things and certainly they should continue, and I’ll discuss with Warde how to enhance those things,” Schlissel said.