Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Snyder won't seek student input on Perles successor

December 4, 2018
<p>Michigan Governor Rick Snyder addresses the audience Jan. 20, 2015, during the State of the State Address at the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. Emily Nagle/The State News</p>

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder addresses the audience Jan. 20, 2015, during the State of the State Address at the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. Emily Nagle/The State News

Photo by Emily Nagle | The State News

Update, Dec. 7 at 4:37 p.m.: Snyder's chief of staff, former Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus, will visit campus Tuesday, according to a Facebook post by the MSU College Democrats. A spokesperson for the administration could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder will not seek input from MSU students or faculty before selecting MSU Trustee George Perles’ successor.

Snyder was invited to campus by the MSU College Democrats and the James Madison College Conservatives.

“Here on campus, the student body has been heavily engaged in the politics of and the actions taken by the Board in light of the many controversies and irresponsibilities at the top of the University,” the invitation reads. “After months of feeling neglected and hopeless … the governor’s visit to campus to discuss the appointment and listen to the opinions of the students would mean the world to us.”

Ari Adler, Snyder’s communications director, said in a statement that the governor has never held town halls regarding executive appointments and has no intentions of starting now.

“We do not hold town halls regarding appointments. The appointments process is standardized and we will continue to follow that standard as we have for nearly eight years,” Adler said. “Anyone interested in the appointment would need to follow the appointments process with an application.”

Perles, a Democrat elected to the board in 2007 and 2014, resigned last week due to health issues. 

Earlier this year, a lawsuit alleged Perles had covered up Larry Nassar’s rape of former MSU field hockey player Erika Davis. Perles, through his lawyer, has denied the accusations.

After the lawsuit was filed, Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer said on the campaign trail that Perles, along with the rest of the MSU Trustees, should resign.

The timing of Perles' resignation, so soon before Snyder leaves office, has led to speculation that it was intended to spite Whitmer. Whitmer’s transition office declined to comment on the matter.

Whomever the governor appoints to the Board will finish Perles’ term, which lasts until Jan. 1, 2023.

With newly elected Democratic trustees Brianna Scott and Kelly Tebay taking office in the near future, Democrats will maintain control of the Board regardless of Snyder's appointment. Before Perles resigned, the party was slated to hold a 6-2 majority; should Snyder appoint a Republican, Democrats would hold a 5-3 majority once Scott and Tebay are seated.

Those interested in being named Perles' successor can fill out an application to be considered by the governor's appointments team here.

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