Whitmer, legislative leaders urge Wayne State Board of Governors to adopt code of conduct

Posted at 2:44 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 17:08:44-05

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and other state legislative leaders sent a letter to the Wayne State University Board of Governors to adopt a code of conduct.

The officials urged them to adopt one at the next meeting on March 20.

The letter comes after the Higher Learning Commission gave the board until March 24 to report on its progress toward adopting a code of conduct, among other reforms.

In the letter, the officials said, "“Wayne State University is one of our state’s greatest educational assets. It graduates more professionals that remain in Michigan than any other university. It is a critical part of Michigan’s history, and it will help define Michigan’s future. For this and many other reasons, we strongly urge you to adopt one code of conduct, acceptable to the Higher Learning Commission, at your next meeting.”

Marilyn Kelly, the chair of the board, has released the following statement in response:

I thank Governor Whitmer, Attorney General Nessel and our legislative leaders for requesting the Wayne State University Board of Governors adopt a code of conduct. As board chair, I will do everything in my power to help make it happen.

A code of conduct is a statement about how we should do our jobs as board members. It provides standards for us to follow and sets expectations. It sends a message to our students, faculty and staff, as well as to the greater community, that we are committed to strengthening and moving the university forward.

It is particularly important for our board to act soon, because the organization that accredits the university, the Higher Learning Commission, has given us a deadline of March 24 to implement several recommendations, including the adoption of a code. The Commission holds the key to our federal funding, research dollars, and our institution’s legitimacy. If we don’t adopt a code, our HLC accreditation could be at risk.

The Higher Learning Commission has stated that if the board refused to adopt a code of conduct, it may withdraw the university's accreditation.