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Michigan GOP bypasses MSU trustee Foster for endorsement

MSU trustee Melanie Foster
MSU trustee Melanie Foster Facebook page
MSU Trustee Melanie Foster.

Despite winning election to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees twice, state Republicans did not endorse Melanie Foster at their convention this past weekend.

Trustee Foster blames the Trump wing of the Michigan GOP, and their “out with the old, in with the new” approach, for losing the convention’s vote.

Foster says she had been optimistic heading into the convention, and the result was a surprise.

“I refused to launch a negative campaign,” Foster explained, “but that seemed to be the appetite of the delegates of the convention.”

Foster supports nominee Travis Menge, but won’t back the other Republican nominee, Mike Balow. Balow’s daughter was on the MSU swim and dive team cut by MSU, and he’s involved in a lawsuit over the program’s elimination. Foster alleges restoring the team is Balow’s only reason for running.

“I do not support his candidacy because he’s running for the board for the wrong reasons,” Foster said. “I really don’t know how someone serves on the board of trustees when their family’s involved in litigation against the university.”

In a statement to WKAR, Balow responded to Foster's allegations, saying: “It's not surprising that Ms. Foster seeks to minimize the issues involved in my campaign.” Balow continued by referring to the elimination of the swim and dive team as “illegal…a clear violation of federal Title IX law,” but he says that’s his daughter’s job to pursue. He called MSU’s Covid response “overbearing,” and additionally says MSU’s response to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal was an “utter institutional failure.”

Foster’s term runs through the end of the year.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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