Eight vie for two seats on Board of Regents

Eight candidates, including one incumbent, are running for two seats on the Board of Regents in the Nov. 2 elections. Regents are elected for eight-year terms.

Incumbent Neal D. Nielsen, a Republican, is seeking re-election. He has served on the Board since 1984.

The other open seat currently is held by Regent Veronica Latta Smith, a Republican, who is not seeking re-election.

The other candidates are Republican Nancy Laro, Democrats Laurence B. Deitch and Rebecca McGowan, Libertarian James L. Hudler, Tisch Party members Edward J. Sanger and Patricia C. Macgillivray, and Workers’ World party member Kristen Hamel.

Deitch says the two biggest challenges facing the University are securing its financial well being and improving undergraduate education.

“In order to secure the University’s financial future, we have to make The Campaign for Michigan a success. I commit my energies to that effort. Second, we have to do everything that we can do to manage our money better and that includes continuing some of the efforts begun by the administration in cost containment and revenue enhancement,” Deitch says.

The lawyer from Bloomfield also says “we have to be vigorous in working with the Legislature to return to the days when our state property funded the University and other institutions of higher education.”

Deitch, who earned a B.A. in 1969 from the U-M and graduated from the U-M Law School in 1972, says he would bring to the board “significant skills and experience as a corporate attorney, as a member of corporate and non-profit boards of directors and as somebody with long and broad experience in community affairs and politics.”

McGowan cites her experience and long family and personal tradition and commitment to public service among her credentials for the Regent’s post.

“I spent many years in Washington as a legislative assistant to two U.S. senators and was responsible for items on their substantive agendas. I also managed a large office and budget for Sen. Walter Mondale.” She is currently manager for governmental affairs for the Industrial Technology Institute.

McGowan, who is from Ann Arbor, views the major issues facing the University in terms of accessibility:

—Access for undergraduates to an excellent undergraduate education.

—Access for qualified Michigan students to financial aid.

—Access for women and minorities to fairness and to full membership in the University community at every level.

—Access for the people of Michigan, with an emphasis on technology transfer from research laboratories to Michigan businesses to help the economy and to create new industries and businesses.

—Access to the Board of Regents for the University community.

Hudler, a medical technologist at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, received a bachelor’s degree from the U-M in 1974 and did two years of graduate work here.

Libertarians believe the University should be privatized, Hudler says. “I think I have a lot of skills in terms of fund-raising. The University needs to do more private fundraising.”

Hudler says corporations should use the University as an educational resource base, with the U-M renting out its facilities for educational programs and offering employee training classes to corporations. Corporations could also sponsor students, Hudler says.

He also is concerned about free speech on campus.

“The political correctness movement has inhibited free speech. If someone says something racist or bigoted, the best way to deal with them is publicly denounce them or censure them rather than censoring speech,” Hudler adds.

Nancy Laro, a certified public accountant, worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in 1988–89. She sees two basic challenges for the future of the U-M—undergraduate education and creating a business plan.

“After listening to people throughout the state and from having worked in undergraduate admissions, I’ve learned what students and their parents expect from an education at Michigan. Students here receive a wonderful education, but I would like to see renewed emphasis on undergraduate education, smaller classes and a more user-friendly atmosphere. The new student center that is part of The Campaign for Michigan will go a long way to help make more of a community atmosphere for us.

“We need to find innovative ways to raise revenue, continue to reduce costs and use that as a means of containing tuition,” she says. “It is extremely important to make a Michigan education accessible to students who have been accepted, not to let that education get out of reach financially.

Laro says the University might “find increased revenue from expanding the summer use of University facilities and seeking more small and mid-sized grants as well as large ones.” More summer programs would not only increase revenue but also would “help people of the state by bringing in more seminars and professional programs, increasing continuing education programs and expanding summer opportunity programs for high school students in academics such as math and science.”

Nielsen, a Brighton attorney, says he has “tried to make sure the people in the state are properly represented within the institution, to make sure faculty have a voice and have access to the board, and to make sure that various facets of the institution grow and develop—especially the medical complex and research projects.”

The greatest challenge facing the U-M, according to Nielsen, is that of decreased resources from the state and finding a way to replace them.

“Development and expansion of the current medical facilities and health care services, of the research industry and of endowment efforts are essential to the University,” he says. “Our institution should do more public service. We have a premier pool of talented faculty and staff that can assist various private sectors with skill and knowledge.”

Nielsen also says he is distressed by the low numbers of women in faculty and administrative roles at the University.

“I think it is deplorable that women make up only 18 percent of the faculty and only eight percent of the administrative roles when our graduating classes are 49 percent women. We have to make serious efforts to promote women to both faculty and administrative positions.”

Macgillivray of Wyandotte, an engineering technologist at the Ford Motor Co. Design Center, has 30 years of work experience, including 19 years with Ford, and an associate degree in business administration.

“During those 30 years I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work with recent college graduates. I can see a big difference in the level of knowledge and how they function in jobs. Some have been exceptionally well educated and can function well. Others are not as well equipped to get out into the work force.”

Among the challenges facing the U-M is controlling rapidly rising tuition rates, according to Macgillivray. Citing a recent Detroit News article that reported the U-M’s tuition rate increased 217 percent between 1981 and 1991 while the national inflation rate was less than 64 percent, she says, “there has to be some strong justification for tuition rates to increase that dramatically. Tuition increases like that preclude a lot of students from higher education.”

Macgillivray also would like to make sure that professors are spending more time in classes instructing students and less time doing research.

“That is what the kids are paying for. That’s what the parents are paying for,” Macgillivray adds.

Sanger, who lives in Lansing, has been a self-employed certified public accountant for 22 years. He earned two degrees from the U-M, a bachelor of arts in 1958 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1966.

Active in the formation of the Tisch Independent Citizens Party in 1982 and the U.S. Taxpayers Party in 1991 and 1992, Sanger says the Tisch and U.S. Taxpayers parties “believe the principle responsibility of political leaders is to represent interests of taxpayers and students.

“We’re interested in reducing costs at the U-M. Our principal proposal for reducing costs is to make the University substantially a full-time university with the summer term comparable to the other terms.”

Another challenge, Sanger says, is to provide students an opportunity to earn degrees in a shorter period of time. It is taking too many students more than four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, more than two years to earn a master’s degree and more than two years to achieve a doctorate, he notes.

Hamel, a secretary in the Internal Services Office of Wayne State University, is a Detroit resident. She was not available to answer Record questions.


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