Public institutions function best when the public can shine the bright light of transparency into them. This is more important than ever at our public colleges and universities, and especially at Michigan State. That is why I am committed to a new level of transparency for the Board of Trustees and the administration.
There is significant distrust in the current Board and administration, particularly in the Interim President. I believe that the first step to rebuilding trust with students, faculty, staff and the public is to allow them to participate and scrutinize the future President prior to her or him being hired. That is why I propose and will insist that the Presidential search be transparent and open to the public. If the next President isn’t willing to raise her or his hand and say, “I believe that I am the best person for this job and this is why.” then we will continue to struggle with trusting whoever is hired.
Transparency reforms don’t end with the hiring of the next President. The era of private Board "meetings" where decisions are actually made and then surface-level voted on at the public Board meeting must end. State law requires that board meetings be open and public, and the Board must adhere to the intent of this law instead of exploiting a loophole to benefit Board Members who don’t want their personal opinions to be known.
MSU spends millions of taxpayer dollars and operates an almost $3B endowment each year. As a public institution, the public should not have to peel back layers of paperwork to understand how this money is being spent, how decisions are made, and to ensure that cronyism isn’t rampant at Michigan’s premier land-grant institution. I will push for budget decisions to be given a new level of detail at the public board table, and for checks and balances to exist around university investments to ensure that they are being made to benefit the most important asset the university has; it’s students.