Wayne State’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the hire of the university’s new provost at its virtual meeting on Friday. 

President M. Roy Wilson’s recommendation to the board to hire Mark L. Kornbluh as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs was announced to the campus community earlier this week. Kornbluh, who previously served as dean of the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts and Sciences, will start his new position at WSU on July 1. He was also appointed as a tenured professor in the Department of History. 

“I want to take a moment again to extend my deepest thanks to Laurie (Lauzon) Clabo for her really exceptional service as interim provost during this extremely challenging time at the university and for her service for our community as well as our nation,” Wilson said. “It really has been that significant. She provided incredible leadership and valuable advice and we’re really so fortunate that she agreed to step forward and serve under these difficult circumstances, so we really do owe her our gratitude and our thanks.”

As departments begin to plan for the fall 2021 semester, Associate Vice President for Student Auxiliary Services and Chief Housing Officer Timothy Michael gave an update on WSU dining and changes patrons can expect. 

Michael said he recommends dining plan rates increase by 3% during the 2021-2022 academic year, bringing the Warrior Pass 200 (unlimited + $200/sem) from $4,180 to $4,310 a year. WSU is one of the first schools in Michigan to announce their dining rates, but Michael said this price would still be one of the lowest in the area. 

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Screenshot of Associate Vice President for Student Auxiliary Services and Chief Housing Officer Timothy Michael’s presentation given to the BOG on Friday.

While the dining rates Michael presented are not finalized, he said he will present again at the April 30 BOG meeting and ask for the board’s approval. 

Many changes will be implemented to dining during the 2021-2022 school year that were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael said. 

In regard to meal plans, students will find options with a combination of Warrior Dollars and OneCard Dollars that they will be able to use at more on campus and community businesses, Michael said. Family dining options are also proposed, which would allow a group of students to purchase a shareable meal. 

A dozen new catering options will also provide WSU groups with more food choices, Michael said. Freshii will also be replaced with a new sushi restaurant and a new chicken restaurant will move into the Student Center where Wingstop was once located. 

Future dining plans include a dining service concept in State Hall that will be constructed during the building’s renovation, Michael said. 

State Hall has been closed due to elevator renovations but is expected to be open this upcoming fall for classes, Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning and Management Robert Davenport said. An Americans with Disabilities Act compliant elevator was installed and the two original elevators were renovated as well. 

Davenport expects the complete State Hall renovations will be fully finished in late 2023, he said. 

“We were really hoping to accelerate the work to get to a fall (2023 completion) date, but that’s going to be very difficult I think at this point. But we’ll see as time marches on, we get through construction documents, we’ll have a better idea of where the schedule will land because then we’ll have by that time very clear understanding of where the programing is going and what we’ll specifically need to do to the building, which of course then ties back to the timing,” Davenport said. 

WSU is pleased to see declines in COVID-19 positivity rates and case numbers in Detroit and on campus, however, it’s monitoring a slight uptick in the campus positivity rate ahead of spring break, Wilson said. According to the Campus Health Center, five people tested positive the week of Feb. 27 and 12 people the week of March 6.

WSU has been receiving about 300 COVID-19 vaccine doses from the Detroit Health Department that are distributed weekly by the CHC, Wilson said. The university expects this number to be consistent, if not more, as COVID-19 vaccine distribution ramps up. 

On Friday, Michigan announced all residents ages 16 and up will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 5.

“Obviously that will include our student population which we’re eagerly awaiting, as well as all our faculty, so that we can have as near normal fall semester as possible,” Wilson said.

The BOG’s next meeting will be held virtually on April 30.


 Jack Filbrandt is the editor-in-chief at The South End. He can be reached at editorinchiefTSE@gmail.com

Cover photo by Guneet Ghotra. She can be reached at fz8387@wayne.edu.