The University Record, October 28, 1998

9 vie for 2 seats on Board of Regents

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Nine candidates, including one incumbent, are hoping to occupy one of the two open seats on the Board of Regents as a result of the Nov. 3 election. Regents serve eight-year terms and are chosen during general elections by voters statewide.

Regent Shirley McFee, whose term expires this year, has decided not to run, but Philip Power, who has served on the Board since 1987, is seeking re-election. The two candidates elected will begin their terms Jan. 1.

David Brandon, an Ann Arbor Republican, is chair of the board of directors for Valassis Communication. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the U-M and served for four years on the board for Central Michigan University, two of them as chair.

“Despite the political nature of the process, my decision to run for this board is not about politics,” Brandon says. “It is about giving back to the University as a result of the incredibly positive impact it has had on my life.”

Brandon lists as one of the most critical questions the U-M will face in the future the issue of financial restraint and tuition increases.

“I believe our biggest challenge is to maintain our superiority and world-class status, while also dealing with the financial realities we must face. All universities will be forced to learn something that most businesses have been forced to learn over the past two decades—the concept of doing more with less. Tuition increases cannot continue at the rate and pace experienced in the past decade.”

Jessie F. Dalman, a Republican from Holland, received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from the U-M. She currently is the House Representative for Michigan’s 90th district.

“As a graduate and parent of three children who all have two degrees from the University of Michigan, I am deeply committed to the University,” Dalman says. “I hope to continue U-M’s academic excellence, known worldwide, while maintaining affordability and access for Michigan resident students.”

She says that her highest priority “is to contain the rising cost of tuition for all students, especially the students who are paying the full tuition rate. During my tenure in the House of Representatives, the legislature has appropriated the cost of living rate increases every year to all 15 public colleges and universities for operations even when other state budgets were held constant or cut.

“The Board of Regents continues to increase the tuition beyond that rate,” she adds, “even in this period of relatively low inflation and low unemployment. At the very least, entering freshmen and women should be guaranteed their initial tuition rate will be held constant during their undergraduate years (four years, five years for engineering students).”

Philip Power, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, is chair of HomeTown Communications Network Inc. He received a bachelor’s degree from the U-M and a master’s degree from University College, Oxford, England.

“I believe my experience as a businessman, entrepreneur and newspaper publisher can continue to be helpful to the University. As an alumnus, a long-time Ann Arbor resident and as the senior Regent on the Board, I feel I can provide some useful institutional memory to President Bollinger and his team of Executive Officers and to my colleagues,” Power says.

He believes that the major challenge facing the University is “that some people (mostly editorial writers) have locked onto the notion that it’s O.K. if the University slips in quality, just as long as tuition remains low.

“The reality, of course, is that this risks precisely the University’s quality as a great public university that makes the U-M so special. Maintaining this quality is a tough management challenge, requiring complex trade-offs: Diligent cost control, effective faculty recruitment and retention, aggressive private fund-raising, improved undergraduate education, effective lobbying with the governor and state legislature for state support.”

Kathy White is an Ann Arbor Democrat who received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, a master’s degree from George Washington University and a doctorate in law from the University of Washington. She currently is an assistant professor of law at Wayne State University.

“I have a deep love and affection for the University,” White says. “I feel that I can contribute a great deal to the board. As we are moving toward the 21st century, it is important that the board have at least one member who is an expert in technology and its development. I am an electrical engineer, a patent attorney and a law professor. As a technology expert, I would be a leader in building a bridge between education, science and industry. As a law professor, I am an academic. Finally, I have served four years of active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Currently, I am a U.S. Army captain serving in the reserves. I would bring a unique perspective in that area as well.”

White says one of the major challenges to the U-M is “to reduce costs and increase the accessibility of the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan is a world-class institution. To remain at that level, the University must have adequate funds. The tuition level helps to generate those adequate funds.”

“On the other hand,” she continues, “the University has to find a way to make sure that it is accessible to those who are qualified to attend. I am interested in building a bridge between education, science and industry.”

Ray Vinton, a Flint resident running on the Reform ticket, received a bachelor’s degree from the U-M-Flint in secondary education in 1981. He currently has taken a semester off from studying for a bachelor of science degree in elementary education to run for Regent.

“I am willing to make the commitment of time and work to serve the University,” Vinton says. “There are a lot of things this University can do out in the community to make things happen. Opportunities are there; we just need to get out there and make a difference.”

Vinton says the most important challenge facing the University is keeping tuition costs down. “Tuition is the main issue—it is going up faster than either income or the rate of inflation.”

He also notes that students have little voice in decisions that affect them and thinks they should be represented on the board. He recommends that the board membership be increased to 10 and the two additional seats should be occupied by students.

William Hall is a Libertarian candidate from Rockford. He currently is an attorney specializing in commercial and industrial real estate. He received an associate’s degree from Wabash College and his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

“The Board of Regents is responsible,” he says, “and must act decisively, to eliminate waste, downsize or cancel programs which are not meeting their goals, and refocus resources on those educational programs which do, or can, provide the most benefit. Soaking students, parents and taxpayers for more funds year after year hurts the people the U-M was created to serve.”

The biggest challenge facing the University, he says, is to get “skyrocketing spending under control. Over the past 20 years, spending has increased at a rate far out of proportion to the growth in the number of students, the Consumer Price Index or the real value of the education offered.

“Rather than aggressively address the problem,” he adds, “the University’s response has been to burden students and parents with ever higher tuition costs and debt loads, and burden state and federal taxpayers with the responsibility of funding heavier and heavier subsidies.”

Hall says he thinks the University should “sell or spin off the University of Michigan Medical Center, while retaining a teaching relationship. Privatize research facilities, while maintaining the relationships necessary to provide employment opportunities for faculty and students,” he urges.

James Montgomery is an Ann Arbor Libertarian candidate. He currently is a foreign student adviser at the International Center. He received a master’s degree from the U-M in educational administration.

“I am running for election to the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents because after 34 years on the University’s professional staff as a foreign student/scholar adviser in the International Center, I wish to use my experience to help develop the University’s future policies, especially in the areas of admissions and financial assistance,” Montgomery says.

He says the major challenge for the U-M in the future is “for the University to continue to be world-class without government assistance.”

“The University should not depend on the state for financial assistance—even though the U-M is constitutionally established in the state of Michigan system, it should, in it’s own right, determine what it needs to charge students to provide the service that they and their parents wish to receive,” he says.

Natural Law candidates Ann Rappaport and William Quarton could not be reached for comment.

Additional information about the candidates is available on the Alumni Association Web page at www.umich.edu/~umalumni/

 


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