Candidate profile: MSU trustee candidate Dave Dutch

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – This week at 5 p.m., we’re introducing you to the candidates in a race that is getting an unusual amount of attention: the MSU Board of Trustees. More eyes are on the race this year because of the Larry Nassar scandal.

6 News reporter Dana Whyte introduces you to Dave Dutch, who’s vying for one of the two open seats.

As a proud 1997 MBA Spartan alum whose parents, siblings, and children went to Michigan State, MSU trustee nominee Dave Dutch says he’s ready to take the next step and serve on the board.

“I believe in service. I served my country,” said Dutch.

Dutch served as a special operations officer in the U.S. Navy for eight years and has experience running multiple businesses as an entrepreneur for companies such as Paylease and CDS Global.

So he says because of those experiences, he wants to take them to improve the university.

“I am uniquely qualified to help us get through this dark period which has been very painful, and I think we need some change at the board and I can help provide that,” said Dutch.

Dutch says MSU has gone through a tough time in regards to the Larry Nassar scandal.

“There was a big problem with transparency, with sharing information, and there was a hunker down mentality rather than a let’s be open and fix this together,” said Dutch.

He says he doesn’t think the current board of trustees handled the Nassar situation well, which is why he wants to step up and make a change.

“There was just a tight knit group and they were all team players to a fault,” said Dutch. “Sometimes you have to be the lone dissenting voice and there wasn’t enough of that going on, so I think they handled it horribly.”

As for the hiring of John Engler as interim president, which has stirred controversy among many students and staff, Dutch says that Engler did the best he could with the situation that he was put in.

“John didn’t do this for money. He didn’t do this for fame, he didn’t do this for political gain, he did this cause he loves this university,” said Dutch.

But now Dutch wants to focus on the future and the hiring of MSU’s next president.

“I do think we’re now in the place where we should be focusing on the next president and all our energy should be going into the long term person that we want to take us forward,” said Dutch.

Dutch says the person he wants to fill the seat must be someone who has experience leading a large business, and will see MSU as home.

“I want someone that has integrity,” said Dutch. “I want someone that is a leader. I want someone that’s a communicator and an ethical communicator. I want someone that sees this as a destination and not a pit stop in their career.”

As for the plans Dutch has if he is elected, he says transparency is his biggest priority.

“We need a lot more openness prior to that in the committee meetings, we need more dialogue and discussion around why we made this decision, and I think that we should be open about and document the collaborative nature of decision making,” said Dutch.

He says even though he thinks the board should have the final call regarding university decisions, he wants to involve students and staff to make a more inclusive environment.

“I do feel the trustees are ultimately responsible for the governance of the university, so you can’t defuse that and give that responsibility to others, but you can be collaborative,” said Dutch.

But ultimately Dutch says he’s running because he loves his school and wants to make change for the better.

“The fact that I’m a combat veteran, that I’ve run and grown businesses, I’m comfortable making difficult decisions. I don’t have to be the loudest voice at the table, but I will be a strong voice,” said Dutch.

Dutch says he’s the perfect candidate to do just that.

“There’s a lot of change that needs to go on and we need trustees that have gone through big changes before. I have. That have run big organizations before. I have. That have reported or been on boards before. I have,” said Dutch. “So I think I’m uniquely qualified at this time and I really do want to help, and I hope I have the chance to do so,” said Dutch.

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