Michigan voters have elected two new members to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.
Pat O’Keefe (R) and Rema Vassar (D) won the two open seats on the board.
O’Keefe ran on a platform of protecting free speech and fulfilling the board’s duty to disclose all investigations and prosecutions of sexual assault on campus.
O’Keefe maintains that because the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered most in-person classes at MSU, students are not getting the full college experience but yet still pay the same tuition rate. He notes that while some exemptions are made for athletes and graduate students, all tuition-paying students should have had the option to return to campus this fall.
Vassar advocates lower tuition rates or providing more financial aid to make the MSU experience accessible to more students.
The pandemic has strained the university’s financial health. MSU has reported it’s operating under a $54 million deficit as compared to Fall 2019.
Vassar said in light of the situation, essential services should be maintained, but adds she would consider delaying the implementation of new spending programs or capital improvements.
The pair edged out Republican challenger Tonya Schuitmaker and Democrat Brian Mosallam, the sole incumbent who’s been both praised and criticized for his actions during the Nassar crisis.
Mosallam had said that MSU would not regain the public’s trust until all documents related to the Nassar scandal are released. He added that he’d support releasing those documents once the university’s legal and insurance claims are settled.
To that end, the group ReClaim MSU, which has criticized Mosallam, says it calls on the entire board to “release all information regarding the Nassar crisis, so that the Attorney General can finally complete a full, public, independent investigation.”