emu trickle down

I don’t know if it can really be attributed to the recent implosion of the Republican party, but it appears as though three Republican apointees to the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents have stepped down… Any theories?

Here’s a clip from the front page of today’s “Ann Arbor News“:

Claiming that a “level of distrust and open animosity” prevails among various groups on campus, three members of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents have resigned.

Karen Valvo, chairwoman of the board, and fellow Republicans Jan Brandon and Sharon Rothwell said they would serve through the Jan. 23 board meeting if their spots are not filled by that time….

Those interested in pursuing an appointment to the board, can apply here… Or, better yet, send a letter to the Governor suggesting that EMU’s Regents be elected, as they are at the University of Michigan. (The fact that EMU’s board is comprised of political appointees has always seemed a bit antiquated to me, and not necessarily in the best interests of either the University community or those of us who live in Ypsilanti.)

Speaking of political appointees, I’m thinking that John Bolton would make a terrific ambassador to Moon Base Alpha. (I, of course, am kidding. I wouldn’t trust anything so deathly important to a madman like Bolton. It’s one thing to fuck the Earth. It’s another thing altogether to fuck our chances once we escape… And, speaking of escape, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve already started Clementine’s astronaut training regimen.)

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  1. Kate
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m told the appointment of regents for EMU is in the state constitution, which means it would take a referendum — 380,000 signatures on petitions — then a vote to get a constitutionial amendment passed. I doubt it’s worth the effort.

    Better we should focus on getting Granholm to appoint people with some actual education background and, hopefully, some understanding of EMU and its relationship with Ypsilanti. Definitely NOT some large campaign contributors.

  2. ol' e cross
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    While we’re talking about referendums on the state constitution, I’d like to propose that Brian Robb makes it his first-term mission to see that one, just one, regent is locally elected.

    Seems reasonable that when a community is offered up as host to a state institution larger than the community itself (i.e., “host” as an intenstine plays host to a tapeworm) the local should at have at least one voting representative on the board to give a shout out to local concerns, when they arise.

    I nominate Steve Pierce. (I’m serious. I’d love to see Pierce as an EMU Regent.)

    I may speak more on the subject in the morn, when sober.

  3. ol' e cross
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m still awake. Theories. I’d speculated, at first, that it must have been some political pressure from outside, but that doesn’t explain why Pres. Fallon (according to watercooler chatter) had no previous notice they were going to resign or why the most hated Engler appointee (Incarnati) is left in his seat.

    (The only common thread I can find is that these were the only three women on the board, which just goes to show how intolerant the Dems are of the ladies.)

    Personally, I find their conspired, joint departure bad form, especially when accompanied by a scolding public letter aimed at the struggling institution they were supposed to serve. That said, I think there comments about “open animosity” and such are accurate, and are part of what makes EMU a rather depressing employer.

  4. egpenet
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    The EMU regents to-date have done a horribly poor job, supporting President Fallon as he tries to rebuild a staff and a world-renowned repitation for excellence hard won by EMU staff and students over many decades.

    While I am not a big proponent of tenure … I am not an extremist who believes that any lecturer off the street can teach well, or as well than an experienced professor. (I’ve had my share of lousy profs and grad-assistants.)

    It bothers me that enrolled students at EMU feel they are getting short shrift … as a young poet I know recently told me, “this is a mediocre English Department.” That is the student’s opinion, not mine, but it does bother me to hear that.

    As enrollment drops at EMU and WCC expands, I have to wonder if most students today are simply facing a cost-benefit wall and taking the cheapest way out. A big cause of student dropouts is finances. And then there’s the “just wanna get a degree so I can get a job” … get a piece of paper deal.

    Where were thee threeeeee quitters when negotiations were going hot and heavy? Were they a help at the time? Were they working to keep the institution going? Do they know ANYTHING about the proud heritage of EMU and the steady stream of awesome geography, teaching, speech, theatre and technical graduates it is producing? Did they care?

    Probably not. They’re gone. They quit. Good riddance.

  5. Dale
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I suggested the same thing about the WMU trustees. It is constitutionally mandated but it is changeable with a serious effort. The challenge would be to make sure the regents were elected by more than just the Ypsi locals, which is no small challenge in a waaaaay downballot race. U-M and MSU have a big alumni pool, so I’d wager that there are more people across the state who have SOME trifling interest in those regents races. We can’t expect the same for EMU. If you can figure out how to get decent turnout, I say go for it. What is the alumni network like for EMU?

  6. Ted Glass
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    That’s a good point, Dale. Perhaps the best course of action, instead of pushing for a change in the way in which board members are selected, is to make sure 1) that Democratic Governors are elected, and 2) that they’re made to take the responsibility seriously. Fallon should be meeting with the Governor, as should the Mayor of Ypsilanti, to discuss her appointments. It’s critically important that she puts the right three individuals in.

    And, I’m not sure about Pierce. I think that Jennifer will appoint a Democrat and I don’t know, other than running as a Democrat for Mayor, if he’s ever done anything in, or for, the party.

  7. Ted Glass
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    There isn’t much of a conversation yet, but here’s the link to the EMU school paper’s discussion page:


    Their article on the resignations can be found here:


  8. Anonymous
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    No one has ever asked me if I ever done anything for the Democratic party. Including Mr. Glass.

    If Ted, or anyone, has a question about me, just call and ask me. My phone number is 482-9682 or Steve@Ypsi.com.


    – Steve

  9. UBU
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Why does a large, flightless bird need a board of regents anyway? To me that’s just another example of how these animal coddling liberals continue to create bureaucracy after bureaucracy simply in order to — what? EMU is what? You mean there’s another college around here? — oh, never mind…

  10. ol' e cross
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I do think Steve could represent the interests of the Ypsi well. And a local regent would also have to answer to their faculty neighbors. (Give it some thought, Steve.)

    If not Steve, maybe a few of you movers and shakers could prod a qualified friend or two to toss their name into the ring.

    Having someone as a regent with a vested interest in Ypsi and EMU, would serve both school and community well.

    With three openings, this might be as good as a chance as we’ll get for a long time.

  11. dmcbass
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I just moved to Ypsi from Tennessee in June and I’m not quite up on local politics yet. Coincidentally, I’m also a graduate student at EMU (late in life student, ever-so-much-more than twentysomething).

    What exactly does the Board of Regents DO here? Where I’m from, they don’t have much influence on how things are run…Is that different here?

    And, who is Steve Pierce?


  12. dmcbass
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Ahh, a quick Google of Steve and viola’! Seems I’ve a lot of catching up to do. What was the ultimate outcome of the Midtown/Cross Street ordinance? That’s my neck of the woods….

    Who knew there was such drama and excitement in such a small town?!?


  13. egpenet
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    dmcbass … we fought the civil war up here, too … and it isn’t over as far as I can tell … ij fact, we’ve gotten good at exporting the concept.

    If you’re living in the Cross Street/Midtown area, check out the Riverside Neighborhood Association … for fun, folic, excitement, politics, things to do, meeting people …

  14. Mark H.
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the theories abound on why these 3 Engler Republicans bailed out. My favorite theory is that they had slowly realized that they were in fact…failures as Regents. EMU has problems they don’t know how to solve, and their appointees to the EMU administration is equally clueless. Most regents get to attend nice functions and act officious, and not deal with the deep seated troubles of years of mismanagement. EMU’s regents are not so lucky – and as a group, they permitted all the disaster that are befalling EMU. So why not get out when the getting’s good? Esp. with increased attention at the Regents’ complicity in EMU’s problems? The management’s top negotiators during the recent failed bargaining talks repeatedly said “The Regents say…” or “The Regents won’t” or the “Regents require…” and all those instructions added up to one huge failure.

    All three of them are nice ladies, and one, Karen Valvo, lives in Ypsi. Being local on the BofR is a good thing, but not sufficient to ensure good leadership

    Former council member Barry LaRue is a local figure, and he’s an EMU graduate. He, in my opinion, is one of many local people who’d be outstanding Regents.

    The Governor has 4 appointments to make. This is an historic opportunity for her to put together a team of new Regents, who can ride to the rescue of EMU, and insist that Eastern really put students and the wider community first, ahead of administrative perks and job security for administrators who cannot compete in the labor market.

  15. Mark H.
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    The Governor has 4 appointments to make to the EMU BofR because of the 3 unexpected resignations, plus one Regent’s term is ending Dec. 31. All 4 of these departing Regents were Engler appointees. Soon, just one Engler pal will be left on the Board, but there are mixed views on the effectiveness and values of Governor Granholm’s first 3 appointees.

    The Board has 8 seats. A full term is 8 years, and 2 seats normally come open every two years.

    With luck, the Regents’ resignation will let the new Board to reconsider the foolish commitment the Board made recently to a million dollar plan to close a public street, College Place, and plant grass and trees there, reducing access to campus from Ypsi and vice versa at the southeast corner of campus. This blog has had previous postings on the “College Place” closure plan.

  16. mark
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for dropping in, DMCBASS. I think you’ll find that this is a pretty good little community we’ve got here.

    As for the idea of Barry and/or Steve lobbying for a seat on the Board of Regents, I wonder if that’s something that either of them would consider. Has anyone asked them? I guess I could call the number that Steve left, but I worry that it might be some kind of trap.

  17. UBU
    Posted December 8, 2006 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Come on Mark, don’t be so disingenuous — I know what you’re fishing for — the concerned parents commitee to draft Maynard for EMU Regent will meet by the watertower at midnight…

  18. ol' e cross
    Posted April 14, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark, Hey friends. Mark, I’d suggest, assuming you have it in your power, to delete the above comment from Valintino. (And this, otherwise meaningless reference to it.)

    I read it and was like, huh, who’s this Valinto who’s suddenly interested in EMU trickle down? So, naturally, I googled Valintino Guxxi. What comes up is hundreds of identical comments on hundreds of blogs. Of course, I clicked on one. My computer immediately crashed and I had to unplug my phone line (38666 bps, baby!) to get the connection to disconnect.

    I’m one who generally fights paranoria, but, this post is all wrong. I don’t know if it will actually harm your reader’s computers, or if my crash was coincidence, but given that it’s some kind of rampantly repeated fake comment, I vote for ridding MM of it and asking questions in the morning.

    While I’m not illiterate, I recognize my techie limitations, and, any savy reader who has insight into what Vali Gux is or isn’t trying to accomplish, please enlighten.

  19. mark
    Posted April 14, 2007 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea what you’re talking about…

    (Actually, yeah. It was spam. Sorry. Steve has loosened up a bit on the rules for posting comments. The good thing is it’s easier for people to comment. The bad thing is that some spam gets through. We’re working on the balance… In the future, just assume that any complimentary post is spam.)

  20. ol' e cross
    Posted April 14, 2007 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow. You are the greatest. This is why I love your blog!!!

  21. ol' e cross
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    For those rare readers who may check this forgotten thread and are confused: Mark, did, apparently, delete the toxic spam of Val in tino Gux xi. For some reason, Mark also deleted my follow-up comment on the unrelated “an intentional community close to home.”

    It was perhaps the most profound, truthful and revolutionary thing I’ve ever written.

    Now, the comment with the moment are forever gone. Try as I might, I cannot recreate either. And so, the misery of humanity lingers on.

    (Yes, I’m a wee bit drunk. But it’s Sunday night. In a few short hours, the whole thing starts over.)

  22. mark
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Someone’s apparently deleted all my brilliant comments too!!!

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