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Wayne State University Board Members Tussle Over Free College Decision

The decision to announce free college for Detroit high school graduates or Detroit residents from fall 2020 hasn’t gone down well with a section of Wayne State University board members.

According to the Detroit Free Press report, three board members – Michael Busuito, Sandra Hughes O’Brien and Dana Thompson – alleged President M. Roy Wilson of not informing them about his plans in advance and taking the decision which was beyond his authority. The members are seeking his resignation. 

“This tuition pledge has major financial, political and reputational implications, yet the president did not inform nor discuss with all members of the board the details of the pledge prior to the morning the tuition pledge was announced,” the members said in a written statement to the local press.

Last week, the university had announced the establishment of the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge that will cover tuition and other mandatory fees for first-time freshmen providing free college to at least 49,276 students currently enrolled in Detroit Public Schools and thousands of other Detroit residents.

“One of the main responsibilities of trustees of a university board is to demand accountability from their employee, the president,” the members said in their statement.

“Those trustees who fail to meet this responsibility, fail the university students, faculty, staff and citizens of Michigan. This is what happened at MSU, with disastrous consequences.

The school spokesman Matt Lockwood did accept that all the members were not informed about the planned decision in advance but said that was unintentional.

“For most announcements, we alert the board prior to sharing the information with other stakeholders, including media, often on the day of the announcement,” Lockwood said in a statement.

“This event was originally going to be more modest, but during the planning we felt it deserved more public attention, and the governor and mayor were invited to speak. In retrospect, we should have alerted the entire board at this time,” he added

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