LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Should the governor select the trustees for Michigan State University and the University of Michigan?
Proposed amendments to the Michigan Constitution introduced by a Republican state senator would require all Michigan public university trustees to be appointed by the governor and would subject all public university board meetings to the Open Meetings Act.
Currently, U of M, MSU, and Wayne State trustees are publicly elected. The proposed amendment, introduced by Republican State Sen. Ed McBroom, would require them to have their trustees hand-picked by the governor like all other public Michigan universities.
The second proposed amendment from McBroom requires all public Michigan university board meetings to comply with the Open Meetings Act.
Under current state law, not all Michigan university meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Act. In 1999, the Lansing State Journal and Detroit Free Press sued the MSU Board of Trustees over its closed-door approach in selecting its new president at the time.
The case reached the Michigan Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled universities may conduct informal meetings in private. Whether a meeting is considered formal or informal, the court ruled, may be determined by a university’s governing board.
Both measures need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Michigan House and Senate to wind up on the ballot.
“The recent turmoil on several of the boards and/or failures to be open and transparent on a massive scale such as happened surrounding Larry Nassar or the dismissal of presidents without public meetings show us how much these reforms are necessary,” McBroom said in a news release from the Michigan Senate Republicans.