State Lawmaker Wants to Overhaul How Major University Boards Selected

Cheyna Roth/MPRN

Michigan State University Board of Trustees

State lawmakers want to overhaul how three major universities select their governing bodies.

This stems from ongoing criticism of Michigan State University’s handling of sexual assault complaints.

Multiple women have said that MSU ignored their sexual assault complaints against former school sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced last week to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault.          

State Rep. James Lower (R-Cedar Lake) introduced the measure. It would require the governor to appoint members of the boards at three major universities.

I think that it would be better to have them appointed and be vetted in that manner given what we’ve got right now,” said Lower. “But that’s going to have to be up to the voters because it’s in the state constitution.”

Given everything surrounding the MSU Board of Trustees and the Nassar situation, the voters should be able to decide, is this system working?” he said.

Right now, the governing boards of MSU, Wayne State, and the University of Michigan are selected by voters. 

Lower says under the current method, voters often just pick a recognizable or random name.

I’m not convinced that that provides the type of accountability, the type of transparency and the type of vetting that warrants running a multi-billion dollar organization.”

The measure has to pass by two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate. Then it would be placed on the 2018 ballot for approval by the voters.

Image credit: Cheyna Roth/MPRN

About the Author

Cheyna Roth


Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.   Follow @Cheyna_R

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