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MSU Trustees to select new leadership at January meeting

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Amanda Barberena

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees is set to select new leadership officers at its first meeting of the year.

Trustees will select and vote for the chair and vice-chair at their first meeting of the year on Wednesday morning to lead the board through 2024. Current chair Dianne Byrum says she will not be running for another term.

The board's Code of Ethics and Conduct designates the chair as the primary spokesperson to the public in regard to the group's business. The officers also assign trustees to the internal committees that advance the university's priorities.

The leadership will broadly shape the board’s approach to managing financial and administrative matters at the university.

Following recent controversies, the board's primary challenge is to rebuild trust with campus community members.

Byrum said the only criteria to serve as chair or vice-chair is to be a current board member. She added the process of selecting the leaders is a collaborative effort around setting the group's agenda.

“It's really a conversation among your colleagues on your leadership style, the priorities, the needs of the board for that particular two-year session cycle,” she said.

One of the board's priorities is finding a permanent president to lead MSU following Samuel Stanley Jr.'s resignation and former Provost Teresa Woodruff's appointment as interim president.

Byrum said the presidential search will be a top priority for the board’s officers.

"We need to form a not only a search committee, but identify a search firm, and then do all of the listening sessions across the greater MSU community,” she said.

The board has also seen an internal shakeup that could shift its priorities. Following last year’s election and a resignation in the group, two new trustees, Dennis Denno and Sandy Pierce, are joining the board this year. The group now consists of seven Democratic trustees and one Republican.

Byrum says the chair will also oversee a review of the group's internal bylaws that dictate how the board operates. She called many of the policies "old and obsolete" and in need of significant revisions.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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