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Governor Gretchen Whitmer could remove two trustees from their positions as leaders at Michigan State University

Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer could remove two trustees from their positions as leaders at Michigan State University. The MSU board agreed to censure some of its members at a meeting Sunday night.

The votes follow last week’s release of a report that detailed allegations of misconduct on the board. Investigators found Board Chair Rema Vassar and Trustee Dennis Denno overstepped their authority multiple times. The board convened a rare Sunday night special meeting to discuss the report.

The trustees voted to refer their colleague’s actions to the governor, who has the authority to remove them from office.

Vassar opposed the board’s actions, saying the investigation process was flawed. “I can tell you that this report is incomplete. it omits some very important information,” she said.

Vassar resigned her role as chair Sunday, and the board removed Vassar and and Trustee Dennis Denno from their other leadership positions on the board. Investigators found they encouraged personal attacks against MSU administrators and went beyond their authority on other occasions.

The MSU board also censured Trustee Brianna Scott for violating school policy, after she went to the media to release details of an ethics complaint. Scott says it’s hurtful that she’s facing consequences for coming forward to report misconduct. "But I do not regret it. I believe ultimately what needed to be disclosed has been, and the university is in a better place and will continue to improve because of this investigation,” she said.

Trustee Dan Kelly, the sole Republican on the MSU board, succeeds Vassar in leadership.

The turmoil on the board comes on the eve of new leadership at MSU. Kevin Guskiewicz is starting his term today as the school’s president.

MSU has had five different presidents since 2018.

Arjun Thakkar is joining WKAR as a new politics and civics reporter after stints at the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan. He’s also a recent graduate of the University of Michigan.
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