Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Renee Knake Jefferson expands on Board of Trustees campaign values

March 24, 2022
<p>Renee Knake, courtesy of Arnold Adler.</p>

Renee Knake, courtesy of Arnold Adler.

Trustee Renee Knake Jefferson is running to keep her position on the Board of Trustees under the Democratic nomination. 

Jefferson was originally appointed in 2019 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to fill the seat of Trustee Nancy Schlichting who resigned due to disagreement of the board’s handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. 

“I want to continue to be a champion of reform and change to help take ideas that come to us to improve accountability and transparency and put them into action,” Jefferson said.

Her campaign issues center around encouraging transparency and accountability within the university. These include making revisions to the faculty discipline policy, improving the status of non-tenure-track faculty members and increasing campus safety and survivor resources for students.

“I would like to see the university be more proactive and preventative in campus safety, not to say that we aren’t doing that, but I think that’s an area that can always be improved for our students,” Jefferson said. “Also, thinking about being student-focused, I care a lot about the lived experience for our students. For example, we think about what more can be done for survivors.”

Jefferson hopes to encourage more initiatives and partnerships to reach a diverse, large range of students across the state. 

“I think a lot about access to education and, in particular, access to education for our in-state students,” Jefferson said. “I’m mindful that we need to keep tuition affordable, especially for in-state students, especially for households that are at a $100,000 income level and below. That’s a continued priority for me.”

After serving on the board for three years, Jefferson acknowledged that the role can come with unpredictable issues like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eight years is a very long time commitment,” Jefferson said. “The approach that I take to it is to say these are my values: accountability, transparency, accessibility, safety. I will bring those and apply to them whatever comes up, whether it’s the next global pandemic or it’s thinking about students’ lived experience and how we can enhance that.”

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