New proposal would let governor pick university board of governors, not voters

LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - Under the state constitution, the two political parties pick the candidates for the three governing boards at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. The voters then pick whom they want.

In many cases, however, the voters have no idea who these candidates are. But the political parties love the current system because it gives them a chance to reward the lucky nominees who may or may not be qualified.

"The parties don't provide the voters good candidates," said State Sen. Ed McBroom (R). "We need a much better vetting process and the parties are not going to give that to us."

Hence, the senator has introduced a proposal giving the power to let the governor appoint the board members.

The governor was asked if she was on board with it, and she said yes, along with former GOP Governor John Engler, who agrees with her. And former Democrat Governor Jim Blanchard, agrees with both of them.

"I think we can get there particularly with not just the support of this governor, but bi-partisan governors of the past," Blanchard said. "I even have current board members and ones in the past saying we should be making this change. This has gone on long enough."

Originally the senator had a plan to allow current members on the board to serve out their terms of office before the governor made the new appointments. But with everything happening at MSU, the question is, does he want to move faster.

"With all of the turmoil going on at MSU, I'm not so sure that we should make it more quickly happen," he said. "So it would be after next November, after the election. So maybe we need to suggest removing the entire board right away and then stagger the terms. It's time to get this done and kind of tear the bandage off and move ahead."

But the bandage won't come off until - and unless - the senator can get a two-thirds vote from the House and Senate to put this on the ballot for you to decide in 2024.