Board of Governors in the news
Democrats sweep university board races
Voters send all Democrats to seats on MSU, U-M, Wayne State boards
Democrats sweep Michigan Board of Education and MSU, UM, Wayne State races
Selecting next president, keeping WSU’s upward mobility are key board race issues
By Kim Kozlowski Voters will elect two candidates to the Wayne State University Board of Governors for eight-year terms as the board starts its search for a new president.
30 years of the Concert of Colors
In the 1980s, a group of community leaders from around metro Detroit began gathering regularly to talk about building community coalitions. At the invitation of New Detroit, they formed a racial justice organization in response to the 1967 Detroit rebellion. Leaders gathered to broaden the participation of communities of color and act together in difficult times or when there were social problems. Roughly 30 leaders met monthly, including representatives from the African and African American, Arab, Chinese, and Latino communities. At each meeting, a participating ethnic group presented their community and gave an update on art, culture, and the different socioeconomic issues afflicting them. By the early 1990s, Detroit had suffered from decades of white flight and financial disinvestment, and the relationship between Detroit and the mostly white suburbs was fraught with racial tension. With tension permeating the city, building networks of communities of color was imperative, and the participating leaders formed the Cultural Exchange Network, which would go on to organize the Concert of Colors as an event to bring people together around live music and improve people’s unconscious attitudes towards other cultural groups. As the immigrant populations grew, there was very little interaction between those communities, and at times the intra-community relationships were hostile. Issues often arose between Arab gas station owners in Detroit and the Black customers they served. “Yet there was no uprising or anything around Black Detroiters, and the Arab-owned gas stations. And the reason there wasn’t was because of the work being done behind the scenes,” said Shirley Stancato, member of the Board of Governors at Wayne State University and the former president of New Detroit. “You would be amazed at the things that didn’t happen because we were working together behind the scenes and having deep conversations. That’s the kind of work that helps build community and develops relationships. You sustain those relationships through the tough times, and that’s a big, big piece of the concept around the Concert of Colors.”
Will standardized testing for college admissions disappear? Michigan schools offer clues
More than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country made it optional for prospective students to provide standardized test scores for admission after testing centers closed amid COVID-19 in 2020, according to a list compiled by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, an organization that has lobbied to end standardized testing for college admissions. More than 1,700 schools have extended the policy into admissions for this fall. In Michigan, that includes 30 colleges and universities this fall. The list includes many private colleges and public universities, including Michigan State, Central, Northern, Western, Eastern and Michigan Technological universities as well as the University of Michigan. Other universities are trying to make the temporary policy permanent even as the pandemic policies relax and standardized testing becomes easier. Wayne State University, for instance, launched the discussion months ago but will discuss it more formally in the months ahead, said Michael Busuito, a member of the school's Board of Governors. "We all want the same thing: what is best for our kids to advance their lives," Busuito said.
Wayne State University raises tuition for undergraduate, graduate students
Wayne State University's Board of Governors unanimously approved a tuition increase of 3.9% for both undergraduate and graduate students on Friday. The new tuition rate will result in a $15 increase per credit hour for lower-division undergraduates, officials said. The university also increased its commitment to financial aid, bringing total institutional support to almost $100 million. WSU board Chair Marilyn Kelly said as the governing body of the university, officials are keenly aware of the financial burdens many students face. "This is a decision not arrived at easily or without reservation," Kelly said in a statement. "We have committed the university to making its programs financially accessible to all, including those of limited means. We have not wavered from that commitment. We have provided financial programs to aid students." Wayne State will finalize its university budget in the fall, officials said. University officials say they remain hopeful the Michigan Legislature will increase appropriations to universities this year but is awaiting passage of the state budget. Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said WSU is the only Michigan public university that has not had its budget restored to fiscal year 2011 levels after significant cuts were made to higher education that year. “No matter what the financial circumstances are, our priority remains the same,” Wilson said in a statement. “As stewards of the university, we will provide a high-quality education to as many students as possible, while continuing to feed the talent pipeline to ensure Michigan’s workforce and economy are strong in the years ahead.”
17 teachers at Detroit school: Instead of Teacher Appreciation gifts, help us buy supplies
The Elliottorian Business and Professional Women's Club is the first club of Black business women in Detroit and Michigan and was founded in 1928. Throughout its history, awarding scholarships has been a staple of the organization’s public-service initiatives, with many scholarships awarded to students that have attended and graduated from Wayne State University. The organization’s connection to Wayne State includes former New Detroit President and CEO Shirley Coleman Stancato, who received a scholarship to Wayne State University from the Elliottorians after graduating from Cass Tech. Today, Stancato is a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.
Former chief justice shows ‘ardent desire’ to do good at WSU
Marilyn Kelly, Board of Governors chair, is profiled in a story by Detroit Legal News Editor-in-Chief Tom Kirvan. “When Marilyn Kelly retired from the state Supreme Court nine years ago, most political observers figured it would be but a brief respite from the world of public service. For that, we should all be thankful, as it was only two years before Kelly ran for elective office again, winning a seat in the November 2014 election on the Board of Governors at Wayne State University, where she earned her law degree with honors. Kelly’s return to the campaign trail was rooted in her “deep commitment to Wayne State and an ardent desire to help it accomplish its mission to provide an excellent education for its students and better serve the community,” she wrote in announcing her candidacy. Last month, Kelly was unanimously chosen to serve as chair of the Wayne State Board of Governors, hoping to usher in a new era of cooperation and collegiality, much like she did when she served as chief justice of Michigan’s top court. “The start of 2021 is the perfect time to reflect on the past and frame intentions for the future,” Kelly said after she was chosen chair. “To that end, I’ve consulted in recent weeks with every member of the Board of Governors. Each of us has pledged to renew our efforts to work together in the best interests of this great university. Her ties, of course, to her legal alma mater are strong. She is a past recipient of the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award, and received an honorary doctorate from WSU, where she also has been named its Distinguished Jurist in Residence. She has served as co-chair of the law school’s capital campaign and also established an endowed scholarship for law school students “who are dedicated to public service.”
Wayne State University’s Board of Governors recognizes National Gun Violence Survivors Week
The Wayne State University Board of Governors voted unanimously over the weekend to declare the first week of February as National Gun Violence Survivors Week. The action was taken following a request at the Jan. 29 meeting by Megan Dombrowski, president of the WSU Students Demand Action of Gun Sense in America group. The board will ratify its vote and consider if the designation will be recurring at its March 12 meeting. WSU first commemorated National Gun Violence Survivors Week last year, to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence. National Gun Violence Survivors Week is also recognized by the State of Michigan, following a proclamation by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Gun violence is an all-too-common occurrence here in Detroit and in our nation,” said Marilyn Kelly, chair of the WSU Board of Governors. “The board respects our students’ initiative in raising awareness of this issue and in honoring those lives lost to gun violence. We are proud to stand with our students.”
Wayne State board appoints chair, pledges to 'renew our efforts to work together'
The Wayne State University Board of Governors met Friday for the first time this year, with two newly elected members, and unanimously approved reappointing Marilyn Kelly as chair. "I consulted in recent weeks with other members of the Board of Governors and each of us has pledged to renew our efforts to work together in the best interest of this great university, and we've agreed on our intentions," Kelly said during the meeting, conducted remotely.
Wayne State freezes tuition, warns of budget cuts
Wayne State University’s Board of Governors unanimously agreed Friday to a proposal by President M. Roy Wilson not to increase tuition for undergraduate and graduate students for 2020-21. “It has been a difficult decision for the Board of Governors to freeze tuition for the coming year,” board chair Marilyn Kelly said in a statement. “Two of our most crushing worries have been, first, that in freezing tuition, the board forces the university to confront a budget shortfall of as much as $60 million. Second, we render the university all the more challenged to meet the goals we’ve set of making Wayne University an even better learning center for minorities and the financially underprivileged to gain a quality education." Wilson said there will be some budget cuts, noting that the university relies on tuition as one of its two main funding sources, with the other being state aid. “There will be some financial pain,” he said. “It’s too early to say specifically what the budget deficit will be. There are still too many unknown variables. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last or its impact on enrollment and our state appropriation."
COVID-19 update: U.S. grants state $2.3M in mental health funding, Michigan reveals long-term care facility strategy, digital assistance for black-owned businesses, and More
The Wayne State University Board of Governors has approved a proposal to temporarily suspend the standardized test score requirement for new fall 2020 freshmen applicants. The temporary suspension would be for students who are unable to take their SAT or ACT due to COVID-19. “We understand what a challenging time this is for high school seniors,” says Ericka M. Jackson, senior director of undergraduate admissions at WSU. “We want to provide a path to Wayne State for those students who have not yet taken the SAT or ACT. Now is the time to be helpful, supportive, and allow latitude for students to apply without submitting a test score.”
Wayne State University unveils on-campus polling location in time for March primary
Wayne State University has established a polling location to serve Detroit's Precinct 149, a little over a month before the presidential primary election March 10. All voters of Precinct 149 will now cast ballots at the university's polling location inside the Wayne State Law School, 471 West Palmer. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined university officials and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey for the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. In November, Wayne State University was recognized for student voting engagement, with a student rate of over 50 percent, earning the university a platinum seal — one of 61 institutions in the country to do so. Student voting at Wayne State increased to 53 percent in 2018 following the midterm elections, up from 27 percent in 2013, while the national average institutional voting rate was 39 percent in 2018, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement. The university Board of Governors also declared Election Day in November a campus holiday, canceling classes and making it easier for students, staff, and faculty to hit the polls. “The university has gone to considerable measures to ensure every student’s voice is heard,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said. “This student-led initiative celebrates the life and legacy of Judge Damon Keith by making voting and civic engagement more accessible to campus residents. I believe (Keith) would be delighted with today’s announcement.”
Why Wayne State decided to offer free tuition to Detroit high school grads
Wayne State University is now offering free tuition to graduates from any Detroit high school. Kim Trent is chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She explained how this program, called the “Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge,” will work, and how the university will pay for it.
Michigan Mobility Institute, Wayne State partner on advanced mobility curriculum
The Michigan Mobility Institute announced the world’s first advanced mobility education curriculum for the sector Tuesday in partnership with Wayne State University’s College of Engineering. The organizations said in a joint Tuesday announcement that they’ll begin developing programming to power mobility careers in the months ahead. Kim Trent, chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors, said in a statement that the partnership with the Michigan Mobility Institute could help extend Detroit’s 100 years of history in mobility innovation into the 21st century and beyond. “I couldn’t be more thrilled that the futurists behind the Detroit Mobility Lab and the Michigan Mobility Institute have chosen Wayne State as their partner. This Institute will make our university a world leading center for cutting-edge thinking and leadership for this critically important emerging sector.” Wayne State’s College of Engineering offers a graduate certificate in cyberphysical systems, a program in electric drive vehicle engineering and a newly developed master of science degree in data science and business analytics. “Together we are poised to create something very special as we embark on a shared mission to create the premiere institution focused on educating the mobility engineer of the future,” Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering and computer science professor said.
WSU board OKs $129M in bonds for building projects
The Wayne State University Board of Governors agreed Friday to issue $129 million in bonds to help finance several construction projects at the school, including the Mike Ilitch School of Business in District Detroit.