Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other Michigan leaders sent a letter to the Wayne State University Board of Governors threatening them with removal of accreditation if it did not adopt a Code of Conduct at its next meeting. The letter comes on the heels of squabbling within the board over the legitimacy of the leadership Wayne State University President Roy Wilson.
Four members of the eight-person board attempted to fire Wilson from his role as president in November, claiming that they had never been briefed on a move to grant free tuition to high school graduates in the city of Detroit and that Wilson was overstepping his bounds, according to The Detroit Free Press. Anti-Wilson board members had skipped a meeting discussing tuition and a property purchase related to the medical school, and the other members counted Wilson as a member in order to reach quorum and passed the measures.
The vote to remove Wilson in November was declared in valid, and he is still working
In retaliation, the four anti-Wilson board members have repeatedly voted against all measures brought before the board, including a Code of Conduct required for the university by the Higher Learning Commission to keep its accreditation, The Detroit Free Press said. The commission gave the board until March 24, 2020, to “report on its progress toward adopting a code of conduct,” according to the letter sent this week by Whitmer and other Michigan politicians.
“Wayne State University is one of our state’s greatest educational assets. It graduates more professionals that remain in Michigan than any other university,” the letter said. “It is a critical part of Michigan’s history, and it will help define Michigan’s future. For this and many other reasons, we strongly urge you to adopt one code of conduct, acceptable to the Higher Learning Commission, at your next meeting.”
The letter was signed by Whitmer, as well as Attorney General Dana Nessel, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and House Democratic Leader Chris Greig.
“Discuss it. Refine it. Let every member’s voice be heard,” the letter reads. “But please adopt it and commit yourself to it. You are stewards of an amazing institution and we trust you will make the right decision.”
Read the full letter to the Wayne State University Board of Governors here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer. Background Photo “Wayne State University” by del arte. CC BY-SA 3.0.