A loyal EMUTalk.org reader sent me a link to this Michigan Public Radio commentary by Jack Lessenberry, “Who really runs Michigan universities?” and it seemed like a good idea to share it here. Lessenberry is concentrating on Michigan’s “big” universities– UM, MSU, Wayne– and how the boards work and run things. Here’s a quote:
University boards set tuition rates, approve or reject budgets, and generally wield a lot of power. But who selects them? You may not realize it, but when it comes to Michigan’s three major universities, you do. Or, at least, can.
Michigan, unlike most states, has two different kinds of public universities. Most of our 15 state schools have their boards appointed by the governor. But the U of M, Michigan State and Wayne State have theirs chosen by a statewide vote of the people, just like the governor himself. And the candidates for these boards are nominated by our major political parties and placed on the ballot.
He goes on to point out that more people ought to pay more attention than they typically do about who is getting elected to these boards, though Lessenberry generally thinks these elections “work” and board members do a good job.
Of course, what I really would have liked to have seen Lessenberry talk about is how the other 12 public universities in Michigan– including EMU, of course– have boards where members are not elected but rather appointed by the governor. How well does Lessenberry think these boards “work?”