Mike Miller For MSU

Board of Trustees

Join The Team!

A successful entrepreneur with several ventures to his credit, Mike has created thousands of jobs in both the retail and high tech sector. He has owned everything from an auto dealership to a professional auto racing team. The most recent company he created, now known as Orchid Orthopedic Solutions (located in Holt), produces nearly $500 million annual revenue by creating high tech medical devices, and employs 2000 people -- 900 just in Michigan.

Mike is one of those people who signs both sides of the paycheck. He has created the sort of jobs every Spartan family hopes their student will obtain. And he knows personally that the very best MSU has to offer will launch a career that makes dreams come true.

As a Trustee Mike will be guided by the following principles; Michigan Students first, insure that tuition increases are not automatic, insure total transparency of the administration and the Board of Trustees, support freedom of speech on campus, be accessible and attentive to students and Michigan voters.

Part of the darkest challenge Michigan State University has ever confronted literally sat at Mike and Anna Miller’s dinner table. Their daughter was a competitive gymnast, a Spartan volleyball player … and was treated by Larry Nassar. Today, like both parents (Mike graduated from MSU in 1971), she’s a proud Spartan alumna and treasures the opportunity she had to represent MSU as a student athlete.

We don’t always get to choose the path that makes us the perfect fit for a tough job.

Mike is a father with the perspective, compassion and judgement to address the damage of the university’s past and serve as the change agent MSU needs to guarantee the safe and healthy environment everyone in the Spartan family deserves. He and his family know that road well.

The challenge every university confronts is how to turn young students into highly employable graduates.

His experience as a problem solver, critical thinker, job creator, husband … and compassionate father ... are the combination MSU must have at this uniquely difficult point in its history.



Why Vote For Mike Miller?

STRONG LEADER AND JOB CREATOR

• Mike is a lifelong entrepreneur and team builder, he has started and owned everything from a retail automobile dealership to a professional auto racing team. Mike’s current company, a medical device company, employs 2,000 people — 900 in Michigan.
• His success as a leader and job creator prepares him for oversight of MSU.

GRATEFUL SPARTAN

  • A proud Spartan graduate, Mike attributes much of his professional success to the great foundation received at MSU. Anna, Mike’s wife of 48 years, received her PhD from MSU. Mike’s brother, sister, and one of their three daughters are also proud MSU alum.

COMPASSIONATE FATHER

• Sadly, Mike and Anna’s daughter was a competitive gymnast and MSU volleyball player, and was treated by Nassar. Having seen the pain first hand, Mike knows that we must have a will to support the survivors of this tragedy.
• Mike will work with the administration, Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), campus police, and the prosecutor’s office to support those exposed to sexual harassment, abuse, or assault. As a trustee he will work tirelessly to insure equity for all students.

COMMITTED TO CHANGE AT MSU

• Putting Michigan students first.
• Bring a financial discipline to the board that will prevent yearly tuition hikes by managing revenue and expenses.
• Will place as his highest priority the safety and respect of everyone in the Spartan community.
• Change a board culture of secrecy and work to ensure complete transparency from the MSU Board and the administration. He will accept nothing less than open meetings and total accessibility between the board and the MSU community.
• Protect free speech on campus, allowing everyone to exercise their First Amendment rights and encouraging an open exchange of ideas.

Where Does Mike Stand

Transparency

&

Accessibility

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”


This traditional metaphor means that a leadership culture making decisions in the open and under public scrutiny, rather than in secret, will be more honest and make fewer tragic errors. Every government institution needs more sunshine, and Michigan State University is a perfect example.


Among the unresolved issues from the Larry Nassar atrocities, the most needless -- yet one of the most harmful -- is the ongoing lack of trust. With good reason, students, parents, taxpayers and faculty -- all of us in the Spartan community -- still don’t believe we’ve been told the full story regarding what occurred, when damning truths were known, and who knew them. Too often when we needed forthright answers and detailed explanations, those governing and managing the school and its athletic department responded evasively… or not at all.


No one is more affected by these feelings of mistrust and the lack of sunshine than the student-athletes assaulted by Nassar. My family feels this more than most. My daughter was a competitive gymnast, a Spartan volleyball player, and was treated by Nassar.


As a parent with a personal connection to the harm that was done, I’m angry. I’m not sure I know all of what I need to know. I want somebody in place that I can trust to provide answers and let the sunlight shine in. I’ve decided to do the job myself: I’m on the November ballot as a candidate for the MSU Board of Trustees.


The MSU Board is required by law to obey the state’s Open Meetings Act. And like a lot of Michigan’s large public institutions, the university and its lawyers work diligently to ensure the letter of the law is obeyed, opening meetings to the public when the law clearly requires it.


But that standard of following just the “letter of the law” can result in letting in only as much sunshine as the law requires. It leads to a toxic attitude that favors as much secrecy as the law permits.


Conversely, following the spirit of the law means an attitude of accessibility, where closed meetings are used reluctantly, and only for reasons that clearly benefit the public’s interests. The withholding of information has eroded credibility. Revealing information will restore trust.


The MSU Board must follow the spirit of the law regarding the free flow of information and transparency. The Board must accept nothing less than open board meetings, open lines of communication, and total accessibility between the Board and the MSU community.


President Jefferson once wrote that the affairs of the Union should be “as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books” allowing “every man of any mind” to “investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.”


Unfortunately, while we continue to make tremendous improvements in the digital age, Jefferson’s standard of total sunshine still hasn’t been achieved by the federal government and most of our public institutions.


But now it’s a standard MSU must not fail to meet.

MSU's Cost Crisis

Michigan State University has a spending crisis.

MSU is not alone. In the 21.5 years from January 1997 through June 2018, the nominal price of college tuition in America shot up 191 percent. This is more than double the total wage increases over the same period (up 84 percent), and TRIPLE the total price inflation for all goods and services (up just 57.4 percent).

MSU’s sticker shock has been worse. In-state tuition for the freshmen of 2016 was 202 percent higher than it was 20 years earlier.

Over the last decade state lawmakers have given Michigan’s 15 public universities annual funding increases that outpace inflation. They gave a 6.4 percent increase for the 2016-17 school year. The schools responded by jacking up spending $400 million -- despite having fewer students -- and half of that ($200 million) was paid for with … higher tuition!

World class industries do more with less. Automobiles have barely increased in price since 1997, despite marvelous leaps in technology. The price of cell phone service, computer software and TVs has gone down as technological wizardry skyrocketed. Not surprisingly, my customers have demanded similar performance from every business I have run.

MSU’s costs are no different than any other business: salaries, healthcare, benefits, supplies, capital, etc… But instead of seeking better quality at a better price by sharpening pencils and eliminating outdated spending and programs, MSU has relentlessly demanded more revenue from customers.

These hyperinflationary solutions are not sustainable. They’ve already put crushing debts on middle class students. We will not have world class universities in the future unless schools begin to deploy the world class productivity of today’s American businesses.

That’s the experience needed on the MSU Board of Trustees. Please help me show them the way.

Cronyism

Michigan State University has a culture of cronyism. This is the simple and ugly explanation for most of the damage inflicted by Larry Nassar.

It’s lazy to assume just a handful of bad actors were knowingly indifferent to young women being assaulted. If that were true, then we could just punish the evildoers and justice would be done. Instead, what allowed evil deeds to persist for so long was loyalty between insiders -- university doctors, administrators, USA gymnastics coaches -- rather than loyalty to students and justice.

Reports lead us to believe that strong allegations regarding Nassar’s behavior were repeatedly reported to the gymnastics coach, the dean of the osteopathic medical school, and perhaps others. If their loyalty had been to students and justice, then they would have swiftly called in law enforcement.
Instead, their loyalty was to one of their own -- their crony. This caused them to stonewall and refute what deserved to be aggressively and independently investigated. Their intent was not to hurt young women, but that’s the kind of harm cronyism causes.

I ran a business with nearly 2000 employees -- far too many for me to honorably referee disputes and allegations. It has a grievance hotline overseen by independent staffers through which whistleblowers can remain anonymous. For the most part, real concerns are reported and those involved in our grievance process are empowered to independently warn, and (when necessary) discipline and even dismiss bad actors. When a crime is alleged, law enforcement is immediately informed.

We can’t have exceptions for special employees. Our loyalty is to the safety and dignity of everyone in our Spartan community.

That’s the opposite of cronyism. That’s the loyalty that I want to bring in to replace MSU’s culture of cronyism. I look forward to having your support to get the job done.

Tenure

William Strampel, former dean of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, resigned on June 30. He was not fired. His willingness to leave will allow him to walk away with an additional $175,000, even though he is still facing felony charges.

This was more than a year after he infamously tried to defend his subordinate, Larry Nassar, as the first awful allegations against Nassar became public. This was more than six months after Strampel took “medical leave” -- with pay -- as the scandal widened. And it was more than three months after Strampel was also arrested and charged with felony sexual misconduct against MSU students.

The “termination for cause” clause in the MSU tenure agreements must be amended to allow for swift dismissal of anyone whose conduct has been or may become such a threat to the dignity and safety of the community. The argument that putting such provisions into the tenure policy will cause MSU to lose out on the best and brightest faculty prospects simply is not persuasive.

In fact, it’s an ugly lie. The faculty we’re looking for won’t be worried over having tenure protections that allow them to behave as William Strampel did for years, and then evade termination for more than a year after they’ve been exposed.

To the contrary: the faculty we’re looking for will want a tenure policy that protects them from people like William Strampel!

With your help putting me on the MSU Board of Trustees, that’s the policy I will fight for.

Endorsements

  • Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPac
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan Pac
  • Jeff  Sakwa
  • 1st Congressional District Chair Jesse Osmer
  • 4th Congressional District Chair  Judy Rapanos
  • 8th Congressional District Chair Norm Shinkle
  • 12th Congressional District Chair Bill Runco
  • Secretary of the MI GOP Hank Fuhs


“Mike Miller - a very good friend of mine, and one of the most ethical, socially conscious men I've ever known, is running for the one of the Board of Trustees for Michigan State University. I'm a Spartan. My grandfather was a graduate of the Veterinary College the first year the University became MSC (when he began it was MAC). My father graduated the first year the University became MSU. My brother, Mike, my sister, Toni, and I each graduated from MSU, as did Toni's daughter Michelle. We are Spartans and we know a great Spartan in Mike Miler. I'm telling you, this guy exemplifies the meaning of the title, "Spartan." Please give him your full support in the upcoming election. To my liberal friends... don't be shocked by his "conservative" mantra. He serves the poor, takes very good care of his employees, runs a wonderful business, is a loving husband and father, has a great mind and an even greater heart... especially for the Green and White. Fight for Mike Miller. He'll be an amazing trustee. Go Green.”

- Dr. Richard Benedict PhD

"Here's someone we can all get behind. MSU needs quality leadership more than ever, and there's no question Mike Miller is the man for the job. Sharp, focused, hard-working and brimming with passion for MSU. Go Green, Go MIKE! "

- Art Bukowski

"For what my endorsement is worth, my friend Mike Miller is running for Michigan State University Board of Trustees. Mike is exactly the person that is needed for this difficult job. He is an exceptional judge of character and a brilliant strategist. You will not find a person more qualified or of greater integrity and moral conviction. "

- Chas Howe 

"Perfect choice for these times. Mike has the ability to grasp complex matters...and find the right solution(s). A proven leader...a man of immense passion and integrity."

-  Lamont D. Smith

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