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Angela Davis, WCC Trustee

Angela Davis is an incumbent Trustee, first elected to the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees in November 2016. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the WCC Board of Trustees. I provided Trustee Davis with a questionnaire regarding her candidacy; however, she did not return it. In her most recent appointment, Ms. Davis describes herself as follows:

“Angela Davis was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI. She attended Ann Arbor Public Schools and graduated from Pioneer High School. She attended HBCU’s Bishop College in Dallas, TX. She later enrolled in Concordia University and completed her undergraduate degree in Human Resource Administration while attending Washtenaw Community College. She relocated to West Virginia where she enrolled in Mountain State University in Beckley, WV and received a graduate degree in Strategic Leadership. She is active in the community as a volunteer at the Ann Arbor Art Center’s jewelry studio and participates in chartable (sic) fundraising events. She is also the owner of Davis Jewelry Collections and works at TJMaxx in Ann Arbor.”

What Ms. Davis does not disclose in her biography is that she is the daughter of current WCC Trustee Dianna McKnight-Morton, who was first elected to the WCC Board of Trustees in 1994. This raises fundamental questions about both the effectiveness and independence of Davis as a WCC Trustee. In examining her voting record since January 2017, Davis has never cast an opposing vote to McKnight-Morton.

From the voters’ perspective, this lack of independence reduces the size of the Board from seven Trustees to six. Notably, Davis voted in lockstep with Trustees Fleming, Landau, McKnight-Morton, and Milliken on every single substantive issue that was brought to the Board since 2017. The likelihood that this is either accidental or co-incidental is slim. In a suspicious person, this voting pattern would rightly raise questions about potential violations of the Open Meetings Act.

Angela Davis: Meeting attendance and voting record as a WCC Trustee

Of the 600 recorded votes during Davis’s current term on the Board (through June 30, 2022), she cast 484. Excluding abstentions and unrecorded votes, Davis was absent for 19.3% of the votes.

  • Davis voted to grant a $26M no-bid outsourcing contract for Ellucian in 2019, which resulted in the loss of 31 full-time jobs at WCC and another dozen part-time jobs. Additionally, she voted to authorize a buyout of the affected employees without knowing how much the buyout would cost the taxpayers. ($2.6M if you are wondering. )
  • Davis voted to cancel the Culinary Arts program at WCC.
  • Davis has regularly supported a tuition reduction for out-of-district and out-of-state students who take online-only classes at WCC, effectively authorizing the use of Washtenaw County property taxes to subsidize attendance costs for these non-resident students.
  • Davis voted to authorize the sale of revenue-backed bonds to pay for the construction of the “Advanced Transportation Center.” This form of financing does not require voter approval but uses operational dollars to guarantee repayment. It results in a higher overall cost to the taxpayers and requires WCC to raise student tuition and fees to ensure that its General Fund remains solvent.

You can follow this link to see Angela Davis’s campaign finance filings.

Davis brings limited substance to the WCC Board of Trustees. She has not staked an obvious claim on any particular issues, but she does offer a highly reliable “Yes” vote for whatever the Administration puts in front of her. I’m sure there are reasons to return Davis to the WCC Board of Trustees but none that I can think of that benefit the voters of Washtenaw County.

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Photo Credit: julielaurent , via Flickr