Four disgruntled members of the Wayne State University Board of Governors claimed this week that they voted to terminate President M. Roy Wilson during a Monday night meeting.
Their opponents, however, claim the vote had no legal standing because it didn’t occur during a formal meeting of the board, according to The Detroit News.
Governor Michael Busuito, leader of the dissenting faction, sent an email to the school’s chief of police and directed him to prevent Wilson from entering his office after 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“He’s the president. There was no legitimate vote to vote him out. Nothing has changed,” spokesperson Matt Lockwood said.
The motion to fire Wilson was introduced by Busuito after a Monday night health affairs subcommittee meeting. Four governors voted in favor of the motion, while three Wilson supporters walked out, and a final governor was absent.
Governors Sandra Hughes O’Brien, Dana Thompson, and Anil Kumar voted in favor of Busuito’s motion to oust Wilson, a decision that was outlined in a two-page statement written by Busuito and obtained by The Detroit News.
“This board is split as a result of Wilson’s failure to lead,” Busuito said in the statement. “A split board paralyzes an institution. When such a division exists, the president must reunite the board or leave.”
“Wilson’s defiance and outright disrespect of the board, the Constitution and the bylaws show that he is not capable of bringing this board back together. If he refuses to resign, he must be fired immediately to get WSU out of this state of paralysis. He has left no other options,” he added.
The Wilson opponents previously called for the president’s termination in a statement released in October, which claimed that the school’s new Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge is a “desperate move by a president on the ropes.”
They criticized Wilson for his “lack of transparency and accountability to his employer,” since the Board of Governors wasn’t notified of the tuition pledge until moments before it was announced.
“This tuition pledge has major financial, political and reputational implications, yet the president did not inform nor discuss with all members of the board the details of the pledge prior to the morning the tuition pledge was announced,” their statement added.
Busuito believes that Monday night’s vote to fire Wilson was legitimate because it was an executive committee meeting. Kim Trent, chair of the Board of Governors, disagreed with Busuito’s argument and said she didn’t call an executive committee meeting.
“It’s par for the course for people who are duplicitous and who clearly have decided that the university’s reputation is collateral damage,” Trent said in a statement. “In their quest to attack Roy Wilson, they have decided that damage to the university’s reputation is acceptable to them.”
Wilson said he was advised by Trent to “ignore” the vote to remove him and said he has “no intention of stepping down.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Wayne State University” by Del arte. CC BY-SA 3.0.