Michigan State University Trustees removes ‘voter suppression’ resolution from meeting agenda
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan State University Board of Trustees decided to cancel plans to vote on a resolution that accused Republican lawmakers of voter suppression.
The resolution - which was originally on the agenda for Friday’s meeting - asked MSU’s vendors to stop donating to lawmakers who support the “Secure MI Vote” petition drive.
Secure MI Vote would create new ID regulations for in-person and absentee voting, ban clerks from sending absentee applications to everyone, ban donations to fund elections and set up minimum times for clerks to accept absentee ballots. The resolution called it “voter suppression.”
Board Chair Dianne Byrum said it was pulled because MSU’s didn’t want this to become a partisan issue.
“It became very clear that this was a political resolution, even though I don’t believe that voting and access to voting should be a political issue,” said Byrum.
Byrum denied the resolution was pulled because of threats from the State Senate Majority leader that passing it would cause lawmakers to “immediately reevaluate the legitimacy of this university and its board of trustees.”
“Removing the resolution today does not take away for a millisecond the passion and support for equal access to the ballot,” said Byrum.
Members of the Defend Black Voters Coalition spoke on voter suppression and the removal of the resolution after the conference. Defend Black Voters’ Co-director Ponsella Hardaway said she expected a resolution today after board members spoke out on the issue at their June meeting.
“The MSU Board of Trustees had an opportunity to take the principle stand for Michigan’s democracy but, sadly, in the face of predictable opposition, they seemed to have faltered,” said Hardaway. “Leaving black, brown and working-class people to fend for themselves while university dollars fund the attack on their voting rights.”
Hardaway said she hopes this will continue to be on the minds of the trustees, leading to the next meeting in late October.
Democrats hold a 5-3 majority on the Board of Trustees. At least one Republican member called the resolution inappropriate and said business and politics should be kept separate.
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