Michigan State University Board of Trustees candidates agree: MSU Board can do better

They may have different visions for MSU’s future, but they agree that the board needs changes.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The two Republican and two Democrat candidates running for seats on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees may have different visions for MSU’s future, but they agree that the board needs changes.

Democratic candidate Dennis Denno said he will focus on range from budget priorities to a commitment to pay all MSU employees $15 an hour.

“There’s really been a lack of open government at Michigan State, and I would like to start with releasing the thousands of pages of documents dealing with the Nassar situation. I think another thing that I really want to do is listen to the students, employees and guests and Michigan State University,” said Denno.

Republican candidate Mike Balow said he is focusing on keeping tuition low and bring back MSU Swim and Dive Team, if elected.

He said wants to see less politics from the trustees.

“Work together and openly, regardless of party because once you’re elected you have to govern the university so I mean like the political process is like a necessary evil, I can’t think of a better system, but you know it’s important for the trustees to know that once you get elected, you need to work together and get a job done,” said Balow.

Democratic candidate Renee Knake Jefferson is the only incumbent trustee on the ballot. Some of her top priorities include transparency and low tuition.

“I value transparency all around. In terms of board governance, how the board communicates with the campus community but also from the administration in sharing it’s plans and vision one tangible, concrete step that the board of trustees and administration has been together since my time on the board, is creating and implementing a strategic plan that will take the university through 2030,” said Knake Jefferson.

While Republican candidate Travis Menge’s vision is to start with restoring integrity, it begins with trust.

“I think that the recent report that came out highlighted a lot of deficiencies in our current Title IX processes and also I think that there is a role for external investigations for issues like these,” said Menge.

Menge is referring to the resignation of Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who’s accused of failing to report under the university’s Title IX policy

That resignation escalated the dispute between the board and President Samuel Stanley, leading him to announce his resignation, effective Jan. 11, 2023.

There are three other candidates for the MSU Board of Trustees, Robin Laurain of the Green Party and Claranna Gelineau and Max Rieske from the Libertarian Party.

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