Snyder likely to appoint MSU trustee this week, takes student input
Multiple student groups met with Governor Rick Snyder's Chief of Staff Dick Posthumus on Monday to discuss the upcoming appointment to the MSU Board of Trustees. At the meeting, Posthumus indicated that a final decision will likely be made within the coming week.
This follows the resignation of former Trustee George Perles, who stepped down from his position on the board due to health issues.
The coalition of students — composed of representatives from the MSU College Democrats, James Madison College Conservatives, the Associated Students of MSU and Reclaim MSU — compiled a list of qualities they would like to see in a future trustee.
"I am really pleased with how the meeting went," Carter Oselett, the president of the MSU College Democrats, said in a press release. "Posthumus sincerely voiced that the Governor would take our feedback into consideration."
The student coalition also compiled a short list of candidates they recommend for the role. This includes Mike Miller and Justin Johnson — both candidates who campaigned earlier this year for spots on the Board of Trustees — as well as first lady of Michigan Sue Snyder and Chair of the MSU Human Development and Family Studies Department Amy Bonomi.
"Reclaim MSU did not endorse any of these specific candidates, as they did not endorse any candidates in the Nov. 6 election, but supported the list of qualities," Reclaim MSU said in a message.
The desired qualities in a trustee the coalition expressed to the Governor's office included having a strong dedication to shared governance, experience with relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy, being a catalyst for change and having broad student support.
"MSU currently lacks a face in upper administrative levels that has widespread support and creates community confidence in the university," the press release said.
The student coalition also mentioned that creating opportunities for community involvement would improve campus climate, and having a new trustee with the skill set to address challenges involving sexual misconduct "is one of, if not the most important item for MSU to regain community confidence."
"Given the polarizing nature of the recent years at MSU, the next Trustee must be able to assist in leading a culture change in the organizational structure and function of the university," the press release said.
The private meeting with Posthumus followed a request sent to Snyder — which invited him to campus so the university community could provide input before he chose Perles' replacement — that was originally denied by the Governor's office.
Though Snyder would not meet with students on the board appointment, MSU College Democrats received an email stating that Posthumus would be able to meet with students in place of the Governor.
Posthumus asked for a list of students who will be attending, but members of the MSU community had the chance to provide input on what qualities they want MSU's new trustee to have through an online form.
Student representatives felt their input was valued after the meeting, and both the students and Posthumus agreed the appointment should be made in a bipartisan manner, the press release said.
Snyder's appointment will join five members of the current Board of Trustees, as well as recently-elected Trustees Brianna Scott and Kelly Tebay, in January.
This story was updated at 3:13 p.m. on Dec. 21 to reflect Reclaim MSU's stance on endorsing candidates.