His visit to the Ann Arbor campus for Earth Day weekend comes as tens of thousands of demonstrators in cities across the world protest China's crackdown on Tibetan militants, The Detroit News reported Friday.
"His coming at this highly charged political moment is mere coincidence, actually," said Donald Lopez, professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies at the university.
Lopez said the Dalai Lama's visit was confirmed in November, long before the first protest marches took place in Tibet's capital.
"But of course, the situation in Tibet will resonate throughout his stay," Lopez said.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Tibetan Buddhist leader last visited Ann Arbor in 1994, when some 9,000 people attended his lecture.