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EMU regents to president: Control your drinking or face termination

Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin

Regents at Eastern Michigan University are threatening to fire the school's president unless she gets her drinking under control.

Three of the university's regents wrote a letterto President Susan Martin after an April incident in Washington D.C. Apparently, Martin got into an alcohol-fueled argument with an alumnus.

The letter also references "prior incidents," although it does not elaborate.

Martin has released both the reprimand and her response, which is dated seven weeks after the regents' letter and the same day her office responded to a Freedom of Information request from the Detroit Free Press.

Martin's letter says she apologized for her "unpresidential" behavior, which she called a mistake.

Martin was convicted of an impaired driving offense seven years ago. EMU also has also posted her driving recordonline.

Following is the text of the email that went out to EMU students, staff and faculty today:


To Students, Faculty and Staff: As your President starting my fifth year, I made a vow to never cover up or hide anything. In April, I had a disagreement with an alumni member following an alumni reception in Washington, D.C. about Eastern’s past. I lost my temper and made inappropriate remarks for which I apologized. I also reported this incident to the Chair of the Board of Regents and apologized for being “unpresidential.” As a result, the Board placed a formal reprimand in my personnel file and I have provided a statement in response. I made a mistake and I apologize to you for it. I have assured the Board – and want to assure you - that this will not occur again. I own the incident and have great confidence in the Board’s judgment. Together, we have accomplished many positive initiatives and I look forward to continuing to work jointly on behalf of our students, faculty and staff. In the spirit of full disclosure,the link below includes the letter from the Board and my response statement. It also includes a copy of my driving record, which includes an operating while impaired violation that occurred in 2005, and which the Board was fully aware of prior to hiring me as President. www.emich.edu/president/information The role of the President is extremely demanding and challenging and my conduct must always be a role model for our students 24/7. I will always work as hard as I can to lift Eastern up and make it shine. I hold myself to a high standard and will always be up front and honest with you. We have accomplished much together here at Eastern and I look forward to a bright future for this campus. In four years, we have increased enrollment, improved campus safety, improved retention, increased the number of graduates, invested $200 million in campus facilities, hired 120 faculty,increased financial aid significantly while holding tuition low, and completed the Invest Inspire campaign with $56 million. I love Eastern and am deepl ycommitted to its success. Sincerely, Susan W. Martin President

Statement from Board of Regents Chair Roy Wilbanks: This was a matter the Regents addressed promptly andappropriately with full transparency. EMU will continue to focus on enhancingacademic quality, increasing enrollment and increasing student credit hourproduction. We are also focusing and investing resources in campus renovationsand increasing private support to the university. That has been and willcontinue to be the focus of the university. We will continue to move forward. And to that end, the chair is supportive of the president. Sincerely, Roy E. Wilbanks Chair, Board of Regents

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.