Attorney General Dana Nessel's office said on Dec. 6 the vote to fire Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson was not properly convened, so Wilson is still president of WSU.
On Nov. 4, Sandra Hughes O’Brien, Michael Busuito, Dana Thompson and Anil Kumar approved a motion to terminate Wilson from his position.
"The response notes that certain procedural provisions under the employment agreement must be met, which did not occur as to the alleged executive committee meeting," a letter from the attorney general's office states.
The ruling from Nessel's office was sent shortly before the start of the Dec. 6 Board of Governors meeting. The letter was in response to General Counsel Louis Lessem's response to a complaint filed by Hughes O'Brien, according to the letter.
The attorney general's office also contended Judge Cynthia Stephens' ruling of university boards not being subjected to the Open Meetings Act and said the attorney general's office takes no issue with the ruling by Stephens.
"We are persuaded that any future meeting of the board on the matter of President Wilson's term of office should be conducted as a formal session of the board open to the public in keeping with, 'the spirit of our Constitution, the tradition of our democracy, and the need for public access to the workings of public institutions and agencies.'"
The board held a Skype conference call with former president of the Association of Governing Boards Richard Legon about the BOG passing a code of conduct.
A code of conduct was dismissed at a Sept. 20 meeting due to a 4-4 vote. O'Brien, Kumar, Busuito and Thompson voted against the code of conduct.
Legon said the responsibility of the board is to hold themselves to a standard of higher performance because the reputation of WSU has been put at risk due to governance at WSU falling short.
The code of conduct wasn't passed for a second time with a 4-4 vote. Kumar, O'Brien, Thompson and Busuito voted against the conduct, the same members who voted against it back in September.
This vote comes after the recommendation by the Higher Learning Commission to pass such a conduct after Hughes O'Brien was allegedly found to overstep her position at the university.
Legon said the conflict between the board is well known in higher education.
Throughout the meeting, the board shot down various motions, including the creation of a degree in environmental and sustainability engineering, the approval of minutes from the September meeting, changing the names of departments and the consent agenda.
A motion was also denied for Busuito to give a presentation on the conflict. The motion was denied with a 4-4 vote. He said the meeting was "hijacked by one side" and said they inhibited his free speech.
Wilson said he was disappointed in the code of conduct not passing and declined further comment about the outcome of the meeting.
The floor was opened to public comments, and former WSU President Allan Gilmour said the fighting in the board needs to stop.
"So these accomplishments around this whole university are a direct result of President Wilson. I think it's clear that anyone who looks at the real-life will recognize that his leadership has been exceptional," he said.
Gilmour said the ongoing complexities have been personal and political.
"I leave with the hope that something can be done soon resolve this conflict," he said.
Former BOG member Diane Dunaskiss said the board had lost their vision for the university.
"If you need help getting it back, I know an optometrist I can recommend," Dunaskiss said.
The next BOG meeting won't take place until Jan. 31, 2020.
Senior psychology student Gabrielle Gordon said she represented a group of students all with the same sentiment toward the conflict.
"I'm representing a group of students who are equally ashamed, appalled and horrified at each of your conduct," she said. "You're our governors, and you're representing us."
Gordon said she graduates this year and doesn't want to be ashamed to say she graduated from WSU.
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Cover photos by Jonathan Deschaine. Jonathan is the multimedia editor for The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.