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Voter Guide to the MSU Trustee Race

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Author: Brianna Saroli

Election Day is tomorrow November 6. Two seats on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees are open. There are five candidates: Democrats Kelly Tebay and Brianna Scott, Republicans Mike Miller and Dave Dutch, and Libertarian Bruce Campbell.

Democratic candidate Brianna Scott is from Muskegon, Michigan. She has practiced law as a prosecutor in Muskegon County for three years. Her main interest is selecting the right president for MSU. "That is the most important priority, to make sure they lead us forward,” she said.

Scott is the only candidate who was a prosecuting attorney. She believes that she can help the victims of sexual assault using her experience in Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) cases. “The University has to make the campus safer."

Scott believes that women on campus need more attention since the Nassar case. MSU has “utterly failed to respond and appropriately investigate years of complaints of sexual abuse and assault.” MSU should implement a similar committee like that of the Criminal Sexual Conduct Committee that involves “a prosecutor, public defender, law enforcement familiar with CSC investigations, a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist that has dealt with physical and sexual abuse, a student member and faculty member and at least two members of the BOT.”

On college tuition affordability, Scott spoke in length how "changes need to be made to create the type of culture that will restore trust and faith in those who have lost it.”

Also running as the second Democratic candidate, Kelly Tebay from Pittsfield Township, Michigan. She received her undergraduate degree from MSU in International Relations and Law Enforcement, and a master’s degree in 2011 for Intelligence and Analysis. Her biggest concern is for affordable tuition.

Tebay, as well as the other candidates, believes that finding the right leader for MSU’s president is crucial. She is advocating and pushing for a stronger and more transparent board, which to her, failed to give compassion for the Nassar victims. She believes that there hasn’t been much to prevent sexual assault on campus. Tebay wants Trustee members to “understand what position we're in right now... and make sure we're all fighting this fight together to make Michigan State better.”

Tebay’s educational background in IR and law enforcement could benefit the board’s understanding of how to move forward after the assaults from the Nassar case and how to prevent this from happening again.

Republican nominee Dave Dutch is from Traverse City, Michigan. He received his master’s degree in business administration from MSU. In addition, he attended the Naval Academy. He expressed familiarity with billion-dollar budgets and organizations. He indicated that this makes him the right Board of Trustee candidate.

He has served on the Broad College of Business Board for seven years. His top issue is finding and hiring the next president for the University. He desires to focus on the University’s billion-dollar budget, employees, students and alumni with a business and finance approach. He is a strong advocate for affordable tuition because, “it has gone up higher than inflation.” Furthermore, MSU needs to incorporate an entrepreneurial position and practice of finding ways to monetize the intellectual property, patents, incubators and startups created at MSU.

Dutch has the business acumen that MSU needs, to help generate revenue, while at the same time creating ways to decrease the cost of a college education.

Mike Miller, another Republican, is from Okemos, Michigan and has lived in East Lansing his whole life. He graduated from MSU in 1971 with a degree in labor and industry For Miller, selecting the right candidate for the next MSU president is crucial. In addition, student safety on the campus.

Miller has a personal connection to MSU and to the Nassar crisis. His daughter was a competitive gymnast and she and many of her friends were treated by Nassar. From this he is an advocate for higher transparency across levels of MSU. Miller wants to help MSU through tuition control and fiscal responsibility. “As with all successful businesses that face the same concerns regarding salaries, benefits, capital costs and so forth, higher education must learn to increase efficiency so end users receive higher quality at a better price.”

Miller’s firsthand experience with his daughter being a victim of Nassar, aids him in advocating for stronger safety at MSU as well as investigating Nassar’s crimes.

Bruce Campbell is a Libertarian. He is a retired teacher, social worker, postal clerk/master who received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1969. Campbell believes that the president of MSU needs to be a businessperson who is well educated to handle the job. He also believes that educational background, not politics, should be the key in the decision-making process.

On sexual assault Campbell believes that there is always room for improvement and that everyone needs “to be heard in a fair judgment situation where the accused is innocent until proven guilty.” He believes that victims of the Nassar case should be “believed and listened to.”

The current board is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Contributor: Brianna Saroli

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