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AAU President Expresses Deep Concern About Michigan State University Trustees’ Interference in School Operations

The following is a statement from Association of American Universities President Barbara R. Snyder:

As president of AAU, which represents Michigan State University and our country’s other leading research universities, I am appalled at reports of interference in MSU’s day-to-day operations by the university’s trustees, who are elected officials. If the reports are accurate, then this is inappropriate meddling by a board charged with governance, not management.

In this time of deep ideological polarization in our nation, few institutions face more difficult pressures than our leading state universities. In recent years, even prestigious state universities like Texas, Virginia, and others have struggled to navigate the rocky waters between the interests of state officials and their academic missions. Indeed, several leading public research universities have lost multiple presidents, chancellors, and other top officials because those waters proved impossible for them to navigate.

Governing boards of universities and the professionals those boards hire to lead those institutions must work together to advance their core missions: educating students to be citizens, workers, innovators, scientists, artists, and public servants and enriching the cultural lives and the economies of the towns and states where they are located. Micromanagement and partisan politics have no place on a healthy university board.

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Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 65 research universities transform lives through education, research, and innovation.

Our member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes significantly to our economic strength, while educating and training tomorrow’s visionary leaders and innovators.

AAU member universities collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of leading research universities to American society.

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