Regent candidates face faculty at forum

Six of nine candidates vying for two open spots on the Board of Regents stated positions and answered questions in a Regents Candidates Forum before the faculty Senate Assembly Oct. 27 in Palmer Commons.

Six candidates took part in the forum: Ellis Boal, Green-Charlevoix; Susan Brown, R-Kalamazoo, participated via telephone; incumbent Laurence Deitch, D-Bingham Farms; Denise Ilitch, D-Bingham Farms; John LaFond, R-Plymouth; and Dr. Eric Larson, Libertarian-Grand Rapids.

Not participating were candidates Kerry Morgan, Libertarian-Wyandotte; Dr. Richard Ryskamp, U.S. Taxpayers-Caledonia; and Joe Sanger, U.S. Taxpayers-Lansing.

Boal, a Charlevoix attorney who attended U-M in 1969 before leaving to work as an organizer with the Students for a Democratic Society, called for the sale of Michigan Stadium, and suggested partnerships between the University and business were wrong. "I'm deeply distrustful. The University is supposed to serve the students, not business."

Brown, a fourth-generation U-M graduate, stressed she would bring a southwest Michigan viewpoint to the board. "The biggest barrier to diversity is the high tuition; in the last 10 years it's more than doubled," she said, adding she supports fundraising, watching operational costs and effective management of the endowment.

Deitch, a regent since 1992, said, "Experience and continuity; that's what I bring to the table this election." He said his experience would help to maintain excellence at U-M in a time of potentially shrinking resources.

Ilitch, a lawyer and former president of Ilitch Holdings Inc., which manages Little Caesar Enterprises, the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers and Olympia Entertainment, said, "I am creative and have an ability to work with others of diverse interests." Ilitch said she would seek more money for U-M at the state and federal levels.

LaFond, retired director of the Ford/U-M Program Development Office, said he would provide leadership by pursuing new ideas, cutting wasteful spending, seeking partnerships with business and improving revenue streams. "The cost of tuition continues to increase and the Board of Regents and the administration need to work harder to apply business acumen to reverse this trend," he said.

Larson, responding to a question on diversity, said, "As a Libertarian I will focus on a diversity of ideas," rather than characteristics of sex and race. He advocated containing costs and working for more partnerships with private business.