Looking Internally In The Aftermath Of MSU

Submitted by Brian on January 31st, 2018 at 2:12 PM


i quit

In the wake of... all that at Michigan State I thought it might be apropos to survey Michigan's own house, looking for warning signs. In part this is because I think there is a major one. To me, there are four major components that lead to something as callous as Michigan State's athletic department: a commitment to secrecy, an incestuous power structure, leaders who don't care about anything but the bottom line, and the ability to subvert outside checks on your behavior.

Point by point:

Pattern of DGAF discipline because you only care about the bottom line

Brandon Graham : Glenn Winston :: Winston : EL citizens

Mark Dantonio established a long time ago that he more or less doesn't care if you, football player, do something bad. Delton Williams pulled a gun in a road rage incident and served jail time. He was immediately reinstated. MacGarrett Kings was arrested for "super drunk" DUI and got a zero game suspension. MacGarrett Kings was arrested for kicking a parking enforcement truck and resisting arrest, still got a zero game suspension. Glenn Winston broke a hockey player's jaw with a sucker punch, served six months in jail, and was immediately reinstated. LJ Scott was arrested seven times for driving on a suspended license without reaction. Auston Robertson was admitted as a recruit after multiple high school assaults, one sexual, and proceeded to commit a sexual assault while in college. He didn't so much leave the team as go on the lam.  Chris L Rucker was jailed for eight days during the 2010 season after a DUI violated his probation and played the weekend after his release.

And, of course, there was that probation. Rucker was on probation because even the Ingham County prosecutor's office—about which more in a second—couldn't make surveillance tape from a dorm brawl go away. That brawl was spearheaded by one Glenn Winston:

The fight took place during a potluck function sponsored by the Iota Phi Theta fraternity, hours after Michigan State's team banquet. Winston reportedly had been in an altercation the previous night at a party thrown by the same fraternity at an East Lansing nightspot. An unnamed Michigan State player was charged with public urination and possession of alcohol by a minor outside the Small Planet nightclub.

Dell's father told the Detroit Free Press that Winston informed his teammates about the altercation, and they agreed to follow him to the potluck the next night.

Winston was finally removed from the team, as well as one other of the twenty Michigan State players who decided it would be a good idea to rumble with the Jets.

It was only last year that the 16 sexual assaults Dantonio has overseen during his time at Michigan State were public enough, and the outside heat turned up enough, that Donnie Corley, Josh King, and Demetric Vance were probed, arrested, and booted. Even there Dantonio's hands were tied by the fact that their prison sentences are likely to extend past their eligibility.

Tom Izzo, meanwhile, kept Keith Appling, a man local police wanted to charge for rape, on the team for four years. He was not even suspended.


i know what this press conference isn't about [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

So. There's that. Michigan does not show the same proclivities, mostly. We have no idea what John Beilein's discipline policy is like because—except for Mitch McGary testing positive for pot at the NCAA tournament—literally none of his players have ever been in trouble. Laval Lucas-Perry was dismissed for violating team rules but there appears to be no legal reason.

Under Harbaugh, the only thing approximating lax discipline has been Grant Perry's three-game suspension in the aftermath of an incident outside an East Lansing bar. That resulted in probation and a diversionary plea deal; it cost Perry a quarter of a season. Other incidents under Harbaugh have been met with summary execution. C'sonte York, Logan Tuley-Tillman, and Nate Johnson were all immediately booted for incidents that would have been met with zero game suspensions from Dantonio.

I mean this literally. York sucker punched a guy, which is the same offense Winston committed minus the broken jaw and six months in jail. Tuley-Tillman was convicted of taping consensual sex and sending it from her phone to his; his conviction was also diverted. Nate Johnson was sentenced to four days in jail and probation for a domestic violence incident. That number of days in jail doesn't even warrant a weekend suspension at MSU.

Pre-Harbaugh Michigan did have Brendan Gibbons. Gibbons was not charged as a freshman when his incident occurred, but he should have been booted anyway. "Woman you have sex with does rape kit immediately afterwards" isn't a convictable offense in the court of law but should be disqualifying for a Michigan athlete.

More disturbing is Taylor Lewan's behavior in the aftermath. For the record, Lewan denies that he said this:

The alleged victim also accused Lewan, a longtime teammate of Gibbons with the Wolverines, of then threatening her if she pursued charges -- "I'm going to rape her because, [Gibbons] didn't."

I don't believe him. I don't believe him because there is a UM police report on the incident with a specific and believable account of this interaction. Maybe the exact phrasing involved is incorrect but the overall thrust of the interaction is clear: an attempt to intimidate this woman. That should have gotten him suspended, but it's clear from the way the Gibbons situation played out that Brady Hoke was a neanderthal in this department.

That had to change. External indicators seem to indicate that it has. For what it's worth, the whisper network had outed Gibbons just as thoroughly as it had outed Keith Appling and Adriean Payne before ESPN finally put their names and acts into print, and I haven't heard anything similar since.

Subversion of local prosecutor's office


lax MSU discipline did not help Keith Appling in the long run

The East Lansing police department recommended prosecution for Keith Appling and Adriean Payne after Payne essentially confessed in a police interview. No charges were brought for an astounding quid pro quo:

Schaner says campus police investigators told her that, because of Payne's police interview, they had a solid case to pursue. Once the case was forwarded from police to Ingham County prosecutors, Schaner was interviewed by an assistant prosecutor, Debra Rousseau Martinez. Schaner says Martinez told her she did not seem strong enough to stand up to questioning that would come as a result of making allegations against MSU basketball players.

No charges were filed in the case. The assistant prosecutor, Martinez, now works for Michigan State's Title IX office. She declined to comment on Schaner's case.

Meanwhile the Ingham County DA for the large majority of the timeframe covered here was Stuart Dunnings III, who eventually went to jail for a bundle of charges including soliciting prostitutes and, more relevant for this post, subverting the justice system repeatedly when favored people were caught up in it. Just a couple of the litany of offenses:

In August 2012, charges were inexplicably dropped in a drug paraphernalia case. When an investigator interviewed the person who dropped the charges — likely an assistant prosecutor, whose identity was redacted from the report — the person told the detective she doesn’t know why she dismissed the case and “she would’ve documented if someone had contacted her requesting she dismiss the charges.”

In November 2013, a woman arrested on a domestic violence charge claimed to know Dunnings personally and said she should be released immediately, a jail staffer told investigators. Dunnings called the jail and said he wanted the woman released into his custody. Though “the staff thought it strange that the prosecutor was getting personally involved in this case,” investigators found at least eight women had been released from the jail in 2015 “at the request of the prosecutor or the prosecutor’s office.” The Sheriff’s Office oversees the jail.

If Dunnings was willing to spring prostitutes from jail because he knew them, a call from Izzo or Dantonio only has one outcome. The woman assaulted by Travis Walton, who picked up a bizarre littering charge instead of the original assault charge, states the obvious:


If Grant Perry played for MSU he would have gotten a littering charge, because it's hard to tell whether the Ingham County prosectuor's office is more incompetent or corrupt. This is Dunnings's replacement:

“You put all of these together after what we now know and they look like flags, but at the time … (it) was inappropriate, but did it rise to the level of knowledge of a criminal activity? No,” said Whitmer, who was appointed to serve the last six months of Dunnings’ term. She noted in a Friday interview that she was not privy to the investigation during her review of the prosecutor’s office.

This is a dude in jail.

Wriggelsworth said Friday that it wasn’t until this investigation that his office had anything solid — or even wrote an official report.

But the prosecutor’s activities were so widely known, in fact, that an inmate laughed when he saw Dunnings being led down a hall in the county jail in cuffs in March.

“Everyone knows” Dunnings had been involved with prostitutes “for years,” the inmate said, according to the records. “Damn, the man finally got caught up.”

Either the dude in jail is the smartest guy in the building or the cover your ass attitude didn't end with Dunnings.


This does not appear to be the case in Ann Arbor. Even if Nate Johnson and Logan Tuley-Tillman aren't the best examples because both had been booted from the team as soon as their offenses had become known, they were still charged appropriately. Going a bit further back in time, Will Campbell was charged with a felony for this extremely unwise hijink:

Michigan senior defensive tackle Will Campbell is facing one felony and one misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of property stemming from an April 7 incident, according to court records. ...

According to Ann Arbor police, Campbell was arrested after attempting to slide across the hood of a vehicle at 2 a.m. on April 7 in the 600 block of Church Street. An officer in the area could hear the sheet metal on the hood of the car buckle under Campbell’s weight — he’s listed at 322 pounds — and arrested the senior, police stated.

Campbell was intoxicated, according to police.

He pled down to a misdemeanor and paid restitution, as is appropriate for a first-time offender. He was certainly not undercharged initially. Meanwhile the main accusation leveled at Michigan's Title IX department recently is that they railroaded Drew Sterrett, a non-athlete whose preposterous expulsion was rightfully overturned in court. It is unlikely to be a haven for disgraceful ex-prosecutors who shuffled rape charges under the table in order to do Joel Ferguson a solid.

The nature of these kinds of issues is that they get shuffled under the carpet for years until someone ferrets them out, so that's not definitive, and unfortunately...

Terrible FOIA Office

ESPN had to sue MSU multiple times to get unredacted versions of the documents they requested, and was infamously sued by MSU because of this conundrum:

MSU argues in a court filing that it has been put in an "impossible position" because Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon's office asked the university to withhold the records and ESPN asked for them to be released.

That's not at all how FOIA works, but ESPN had to take that case all the way to the state supreme court before they could proceed. MSU's FOIA office was in full thrall to their university-wide omerta policy. Any FOIA office that acts similarly should put its university under similar suspicion.

Requesting Jim Harbaugh's very boring expense reports took Deadspin "months of back and forth," and this Daily article still remains the gold standard for FOIA office comparisons. Michigan's office is WORSE THAN MSU's, which is the second worst in all the land:


This is probably something that goes back to a state law that needs to be changed, but Michigan taking fuller advantage of it than the sexual assault enablers in East Lansing is unacceptable.

As someone with some experience with the FOIA office I can tell you that Michigan had a policy under Dave Brandon (and may still have it under Warde Manuel) where athletic department emails were purposefully and systematically deleted after a certain period of time to remove them from FOIA. This meant the infamous "find a new team" email returned no responses when people suspicious it was a fake asked for it. I meant that whenever I tried to get all emails from Dave Brandon over a month long period there were no matching results.

The FOIA office also always, always, always replies that they will not be able to get to your request in the five business days mandated by state law and will use the ten day extension, whereupon they use the full three weeks before responding.

This is a statewide problem and should be rectified by:

  • Making FOIA requests free short of purposefully vexing ones.
  • Making "deleted" emails subject to FOIA; there is absolutely no excuse for Michigan's behavior in this regard.
  • Establishing certain things as outside the bounds of FERPA, like names on police reports.

Michigan, meanwhile, should take these steps independently. Because right now their FOIA office looks a lot like one set up to shield sexual assault.

Incestuous power structure

download (3)


Lou Anna Simon had never worked anywhere other than Michigan State. The Michigan State board of trustees is a collection of blatantly unqualified mandarins that in other circumstances would qualify as hilarious. It contains:

  • An 83-year old former football coach whose tenure ended when years of steroid abuse in his program came to light. George Perles denied any knowledge of such a thing.
  • Joel Ferguson, whose own words are sufficiently damning. If you need more, racketeering charges and straight up admitting that he's buying off the mayor of East Lansing.
  • Mitch Lyons, former MSU football player, who publicly outed Auston Robertson's accuser Robertson as the Corley-Vance-King whistleblower and was recently charged with assault. Lyons at least was the first to flip on Simon.
  • Brian Breslin, who is the son of the guy their basketball arena is named after.
  • Brian Mosallam, another former MSU football player. Mosallam at least seems to realize they screwed up massively.

Miraculously, the other three people are not obviously beholden to the MSU athletic department—their actions only imply it. Their unanimous appointment of John Engler to replace Simon...

...is a ridiculous, we-learned-nothing slap in the face.

Michigan had one notable misstep here that you undoubtedly remember: appointing Dave Brandon athletic director despite his extreme narcissism and total lack of experience in athletic department administration. Outside of that Michigan looks outside itself for top end hires. Mark Schlissel came from Brown, Mary Sue Coleman from Iowa, Lee Bollinger from Dartmouth (though he was faculty at M for a long time prior). The most recent president to move up the ranks from inside the university was James Duderstadt in 1988. Critically, no Michigan alum has been president at the university since 1951. An Ohio State grad has been president more recently than that.

Amongst the board of regents many care about Michigan athletics but there's only one person clearly indebted to it: Ron Weiser, who was endorsed by "Sarah" Harbaugh prior to the most recent board of regents election. There are no former football players or coaches.

Unfortunately, Michigan does display some signs of dysfunction at high levels. "Supplemental" pay has been rising dramatically in recent years, in an apparent effort—again—to skirt FOIA laws:

As a public university, U-M is required by state law to disclose annual salary reports. In those reports, U-M discloses base salary. Yet faculty say base pay is only part of the story, and that in disclosing full-pay U-M will increase accountability.

A group of about a dozen faculty members published an open letter to regents in April, suggesting that faculty pay has been increasing modestly in the last decade, while administrator pay at the school has increased substantially, both through hikes in base salaries and through supplemental pay.

"It shows this disparity [in pay] is growing," Dario Gaggio, a history professor at U-M who co-authored the letter, said of the supplemental pay data. "The higher up you go in the hierarchy, the faster the compensations grow."

He added: "I think the whole system really is in need of a general review."

The University in general shows little to no resistance to the increasing disparities between rank and file pay and executive pay that plague every industry in the country but are especially grating in a non-profit, public-interest enterprise like a public university. And they go out of their way to disguise that. From such small mendacities greater things can spawn.

Michigan, in general, must become more open. Open about compensation, compliant with the spirit of FOIA, not the mere letter. After all:


"A sign of high integrity is not [being] worried about being FOIA'd"



January 31st, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

I am not saying everyone is not guilty or should keep their job, all I have been saying is lets not rehash old public stuff as if it is the end of the world.  Let the investigations play out, lets get the facts, then if Izzo or D have to go they have to go.  Keep in mind none of this was covered up by anyone either - all public.


Coach Mark Dantonio suspended Williams immediately, forcing him to miss spring drills while banned from all team activities for five months.

Williams took a job at a Quality Dairy to help pay for classes and stay on track to graduate after Dantonio took things a step further, stripping him of his scholarship and dropping him so far down on the depth chart that he didn't get to play until the sixth game of the season.



Kings was sentenced to 13 months probation in July. He was suspended by MSU for all of the 2014 spring football program, which led to his being buried in the depth chart and struggling for playing time during the season. 


Winston (FYI I am friends with the hockey player he punched - he also got a second chance because of his upbringing and the fact that he showed up to campus with everything he owned in two meijers bags)

"Roderick Jenrette and Glenn Winston have been dismissed from the football team for violation of team rules," Dantonio said in a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon. 


Winston missed the next three games, but Dantonio allowed him to play in the regular-season finale at Penn State.

However, Dantonio didn't allow Winston to accompany the team to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. or participate in the offseason conditioning program or spring practice.



February 1st, 2018 at 1:16 AM ^

Other than Brian saying that after Williams served jail time and was "immediately" reinstated (not clear how long the jail time lasted but I'm assuming it wasn't all spring and he was back at practice during fall camp in August).  So yeah, "immediately" probably wasn't the right word but he missed of couple months of program-led S&C stuff...that's it.  This dude linked a fluff piece by an MSU beat writer that is trying to tug at your heart strings by making it sound like the suspension was so detrimental and he's working oh so hard to get back on the field.  BS.  He didn't miss anything meaningful and certainly nothing he couldn't have done in his own time (lift weights).

Brian said Kings did not receive even a single game suspension which exactly is true.  He was suspended for spring activities.  That's it.

And it is entirely accurate to say that Winston was immediatly reinstated after serving jail time. He was immediately with the team practicing.  That he didn't play in the next three games or travel to the bowl doesn't necesarily have anything to do with punishment.  The guy was coming off an ACL tear and wasn't going to play anyway.  You can't let a guy practice with you, not play him because you don't need him and then call it punishment.

And that's the whole point here.  They "punished" these guys with innocuous suspensions during the spring but not for any games so their stories wouldn't come up for openers when people are asking why there's a bunch of guys suspended.  All to protect the brand. None of it effective at sending a message to players that there were real consequences for what they were doing.


January 31st, 2018 at 7:30 PM ^

Williams got a job, but his mom also took out a loan to pay for his one year off scholarship. A hardship yes, but I'm sure there was an understanding that he could get back on campus of he didn't get into trouble again. As for Kings, his stats are remarkable consistent across his whole career. He caught fewer passes in 2014 but ran the ball 12 more times, by far a career high. His per game averages were consistent. I'm sure it hurt him at some point, but he didn't miss a meaningful game all year. If it submarined his season, I don't see it.

Also, the bigger point isn't that arrests were kept quiet (that's hard to do with the internet) but that (a) there appears to be a history of charges and arrests not being handled properly by the local law enforcement, likely with some goading by MSU, and (b) when guys broke the law, their punishments were usually quite limited. Hell, even the Rather Hall incident that Brian didn't even touch on led to a couple of guys suspended for a bowl game and two guys (including Winston) getting booted despite something like 15 football players involved. That's a clear message being sent by the HC.


January 31st, 2018 at 11:37 PM ^

First off, there is no current investigation into Dantoni or Izzo even though there needs to be, so don't tell us to wait for the investigation. Who cares if it's old stuff and was not covered up. it was still wrong that they were never punished and it shows his poor track record when dealing with player misconduct. This needs to be pointed out to everyone until there is an investigation with some teeth done into the football and basketball programs.

Second, suspensions during the offseason that conveniantly end right when the season starts are a joke, you can't possibly think that those were legitamite punishments. 

Third, nothing you posted refutes anything Brian posted at all. Everything Brian posted is factual.

You claim to be friends with Sturgis, but you are supporting Dantonio's handling of Winston?

Here is part of Sturgis's statement when D drove him from jail to practics.

 "I now look at myself as naive. I believed that the people involved in 

the assault, and those at MSU charged with handling policy, would do 
the right thing. They haven't.

"Me and the other victims have not received any form of apology from 
Glenn Winston. Nothing. He has not acknowledged to us in any way the 
damage he caused. While this fact remains ignored, I cannot allow 
myself to believe that his debts have been paid, or even understood.

"While the victims of his actions still recover from what he did, 
Winston's obligations have been deemed fulfilled by the football 
program and athletic department. I think his immediate reinstatement 
after a shortened jail sentence in my opinion is the wrong decision by 
our athletic program.

"While I hope what happened to me will never happen again, I am afraid 
the precedent set by this decision will only enable similar incidents 
in the future. With no formal athletic standards or means to deal with 
student athletes convicted of a violent crime, this cycle will continue.

"Beyond legal and team issues, there is a simple human obligation of 
respect and character that still remains unfulfilled. Until that 
occurs, I question what has been learned.


That statement almost seems prophetic now


February 1st, 2018 at 10:44 AM ^

Izzo and Dantonio, there is "the problem," and then there is THE PROBLEM.  "The problem" being allegations or instances in which they, specifically, did not do what is required of them by the letter of the law in an intentional or negligent way.  It may be that nothing like this can be proven.  If every single instance of allegations of assault or sexual misconduct were reported to the police, and Title IX compliance, then it may be hard for anybody to establish that the took action warranting dismissal for those specific reasons even if it appears that such reporting was nothing more than token compliance because they knew the MSU police and Ingham County would have their back anyway.

THE PROBLEM is, in the classic words of Jim Carrey, "STOP BREAKING THE LAW A- HOLE!"  You are not going to find any athletic department with all choir boys, there are going to be some legal issues involving players.  The issue for MSU is the sheer number, and the uniform severity of the incidents.  Setting aside the sexual assaults for a moment, look at the Delton Williams incident.  How was he reinstated to the team?  The school? Forget about "immediately."  Let's talk about "ever." 

While initially in the wake of the Nassar sentencing, a lot of MSU fans and alums that I knew seemed somewhat introspective, for a fleeting second.  But now, none of them that I know are going that extra step and really examining the teams and coaches that they support and why it is they don't demand or require more accountability than they do.

G. Gulo of the Dale

January 31st, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

... didn't the Gibbons-Lewan incident occur in 2009, in the midst of the Rich Rod era?  The case resurfaced under Hoke when Gibbons was kicked off the team near the end of his final season.  You can criticize Hoke for his "family issues" comment, but he seems be taking blame (and losing credit) unfairly.  

Thus, this comment regarding Lewan (and Gibbons) doesn't make sense, since Hoke was at San Diego State: "That should have gotten him suspended, but it's clear from the way the Gibbons situation played out that Brady Hoke was a neanderthal in this department."

Section 1.8

January 31st, 2018 at 4:27 PM ^

No; indeed the previous comment was correct.  The incident involving Gibbons occurred in November of 2009.

And again I say; Gibbons cooperated in the investigation, which ultimately involved three Ann Arbor police detectives and has never been credibly suspected as having been influenced by anybody in athletics.  Gibbons' accuser, after submitting for a rape kit, declined to cooperate with police.

Why did the whole thing not arise again until the last two weeks' of Gibbons' fifth year?  It was NOT because anybody in the University did anything to quash any investigation.  It was because in April of 2011, the Obama Administration changed Department of Education Office of Civil Rights rules on Title IX proceedings.  And after that happened, and years belatedly, a third party (!?) instituted a Title IX complaint against Gibbons based on the four+ year-old incident.

Brady Hoke does indeed deserve a massive helping of blame and ridicule for his incompetent public relations surrounding the Title IX expulsion of Gibbons.  When something similar happened at Ohio State (Torrance Gibson), Urban Meyer got his message across by grimly staring down reporters, saying that he personally disagreed with the expulsion, reminding everybody that it wasn't a football decision, and then saying nothing further.

There are good people to call on, to expose the many injustices of collegiate Title IX star-chambers.  Football coaches are not those people.


February 1st, 2018 at 7:58 PM ^

Bullshit pure and simple.  The standard was changed in 2011.  Here's a Harvard piece on this Title IX topic:


When an individual is brought up on a charge of sexual misconduct and has the potential to have his college career and his future grossly diminished by he-said, she-said circumstances with no constitutional safeguards in place and without the requirement of clear and convincing evidence that "beyond a reasonable doubt" mandates, it is a travesty of justice.

And, fwiw, "beyond a reasonable doubt" has recently been restored as the standard upon which to judge guilt.  If you follow this topic at all, you would be aware of the numerous lawsuits that resulted since 2011 when the standard was changed.

Section 1.8

February 2nd, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

And I am particularly grateful to you for linking that Harvard story.  I am not sure everybody knows about the Harvard Law faculty's profound objection to the Obama-era Department of Education's threat to the procedural due process rights of students accused under their regime.

But I have one correction of you that is not so minor in today's political climate, and especially on this Board.

Last fall, Education Secretary DeVos rescinded the directive of the April 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter.  But in no way did that act somehow re-impose a "beyond reasonable doubt" standard on all institutions.

That is the myth, now circulating among a lot of the anti-DeVos activists.  And it is flatly untrue.  I've seen numerous comments on the MGoBlog, all accusing Secretary DeVos of "gutting" Title IX and that assertion is fundamentally a lie.

The Secretary's recission of the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter allowed institutions of higer education to emply their own standards, and in the vast majority of cases, in today's climate, individual institutions (including both Michigan and Michigan State, I expect) may and will elect to continue with a "preponderance" standard.

You and I might disagree with the wisdom of that course of action by the universities, but from my peerspective it is important to clear up the record of our discussion, if only to shut down the popular lie that Secretary DeVos "gutted" Title IX.  Because she did no such thing.

Section 1.8

February 2nd, 2018 at 1:08 PM ^

What we have seen in a great many cases of student conduct discipline boards under Title IX doesn't much resemble civil litigation at all.

There's no trained judge; no "neutral magistrate" in most cases.  These things often get heard by panels that include an untrained student, an untrained faculty member, sexual assault counselors, etc., etc.

There's often no discovery.

There's often no way to confront opposing parties or witnesses.  No cross-examination.

There's often no record of hearing proceedings, as with a court reporter.

There's often no judcial appeal.

Etc., etc., etc.

What these hearings resemble -- but not very well -- are state administrative hearings.  But the difference there is that usually, state administrative hearings are conducted with certain presumptions designed to protect the rights of any respondent.  Due to overarching statutory schemes, as with the Worker Compensation Act, etc.


January 31st, 2018 at 11:12 PM ^

Given what we know about what happened behind the scenes with the Morris concussion and how the AD left Hoke twisting in the wind while they were trying to hash out a response, I wouldn't be surprised if the handling of the expulsion was more on Brandon than on Hoke.


January 31st, 2018 at 10:56 PM ^

And from what I recall, the third party who initiated the whole Gibbons thing was a disgruntled former UM. I also recall the complainant also wanting to have nothing to do with him. The whole thing was sloppily handled by UM. I don't know whether he's innocent or guilty, but I do believe UM let that Washtenaw Wathdog site force their hand to appease the public.

Section 1.8

January 31st, 2018 at 4:44 PM ^

Hoke dismissed York.  My guess is that the Athletic Department, the Board of Regents, the Alumni Association, Student Government, the Daily, the Ann Arbor YMCA and the League of Women Voters all had a hand in dismissing York based on the infamous, damning, frightening video.


BOX House

January 31st, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

The MSU board of trustees: "blatantly unqualified mandarins". I can tell you from personal experience that one of the three not named in Brian's column is a giant douche. His name is Dan Kelly.


January 31st, 2018 at 2:35 PM ^

my question --- what's the dynamic that's causing the difference, given that both Boards are elected in the same way (voted on by the Michigan electorate at large)?

I mean, it seems like it would be easy enough to knock off Joel Ferguson.  That guys been embarassing MSU while simulatenously not serving the school's best interests for 3 decades.  Yet he keeps on surviving?  How?

Isn't U-M at risk of being stuck with their own 30-year malignant tumor of a Trustee if a Joel Ferguson-type managed to win his way onto the U-M board?

Section 1.8

January 31st, 2018 at 11:12 PM ^

I just knew that this highly-controversial content would risk me some downvotes. Pointing out the different names for the members of the three university boards...

I should have expected that offense would be taken, to that information.


January 31st, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

The problem is that we have an uneducated (about these offices and issues) and mostly uninterested electorate. I'm not trying to burn people here, but that's mostly the case. Most of us have a position on national political issues. That position tends to inform our votes, if we even bother to enter them, on more local issues.

Even those of us who don't simply pull a lever (fill in an ellipse, etc) based on the letter next to the name, even those of us who try to read a bit about the candidates before voting, generally don't know what the candidates are actually about. It's hard work knowing more than just the questionaire responses published in a paper about, say, the candidates for city clerk or school board. 

Before this scandal blew up and people on this board began to flame the MSU trustees, how many knew who they were? Some people here have probably inadvertently voted for some of the worst foot-draggers on the board. And that's not really their fault, because even if they had a chance to do some cursory research about the positions of the candidates, that research wouldn't tell them about the strengths and weaknesses of various trustees now at issue.

Thing is, it's a hard issue to fix. There are two basic reasons: 

1. Our politics are very polarized, and they are polarized around issues that voters feel they cannot compromise on. So they will feel they have to vote for someone that is otherwise substandard because of that person's position on, say, health care or abortion. Further, this polarization is sustained into local politics, where simply winning a party's endorsement is enough to guarantee a council or board seat.

2. There are a lot of different positions to vote for, and unless you're a political wonk it's hard to find mindspace to know all of the various candidates and their qualifications. Even when you care. Who here, reading this, can name all of their local city councilors? Who here, reading this, remembers the names of the judges they voted for in the last election, if they did so? Some but not many. 

It's tricky. I wish there were bette involvement in local politics. There are some serious national issues (law enforcement policies, for example) that would be well served to have better participation from local communities.


January 31st, 2018 at 5:14 PM ^

I don’t think even an engaged, informed electorate would have foreseen this type of obscurantism of the board. No one campaigns on a “Pro Rape” platform, or even a “Sports is Everything” platform.

A better electorate is good, but it wouldn’t have prevented this, because these people would never have admitted to this thing.


January 31st, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^

and very true. However school boards, trustee's, regents, etc..... really should be void of politics and it's too bad they are not. When it comes to those positions people running and us who vote for them should be concerned about education and what is best for a school district or institution and how they feel about broader politics should never enter the discussion.

But, as you stated people don't even look at the person just a letter after their name and if you happen to live in a region that is populated with people that have the same letter after your name most of the time you are a shoe in to win.

People too often bury their heads and do what their electorate tells them to do instead of actually looking at issues or what people really say and want to do... This isn't a new problem and doubt it will ever change.