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Washtenaw County Badly Needs New WCC Trustees

If you’ve ever thought about serving as a WCC Trustee, 2024 is the year for you. Two seats are up for assignment. While the seats on the WCC Board of Trustees are “at large” – which means the Trustees don’t represent specific geographic districts – Ann Arbor enjoys an outsized representation on the board, with 6 out of 7 trustees filing under Ann Arbor addresses.

Legally, there is nothing wrong with this distribution of trustees, but the taxpayers outside of Ann Arbor provide more of WCC’s funding than the residents of Ann Arbor do. That leaves Ann Arbor wagging the dog, and frankly, the Trustees don’t look out for the residents of Washtenaw County who don’t happen to live in Ann Arbor.

Last year, when Richard Landau resigned, the Board ran a very quiet, short replacement effort during the December holidays. They had a chance to start correcting gross Ann Arbor imbalance. Instead, they seated another hand-picked Ann Arbor resident to fill the vacant slot.

Lack of accountability characterizes the current WCC Board of Trustees. They sign off on virtually every request the administration makes, whether it makes sense for the community or not. They do not demand accountability from the Administration, so WCC ended up with 13 Vice Presidents on the payroll. The College also found itself with a broken sewer system that dumped thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the Huron River Watershed, not once but twice. (That stems from lack of maintenance on the facilities, by the way.)

The Health and Fitness Center consumes millions of dollars out of the college’s General Fund in the form operating expenses, building maintenance and repair, and interest on a back-door bond issue that the taxpayers never approved. And no, the building does not generate enough revenue to pay its own bills.

WCC Trustees shouldn’t be concentrated in Ann Arbor

The Trustees approved (and continue to approve on an annual basis) a massive tuition discount for out-of-district and out-of-state students who take classes online. At the same time, they charge in-district students a premium for enrolling in the same classes.

Your tax dollars are subsidizing the education of people who do not live or work in Washtenaw County, and will likely never set foot in Washtenaw County. Meanwhile, the buildings and other infrastructure on campus are crumbling and the Trustees raise student tuition to pay for the enormous cost of rehabbing them following years of outright neglect.

The Administration has proposed building a new building on campus, even though the current in-person enrollment does not justify the addition of more space. Further, the Administration’s unwillingness to maintain the existing buildings according to industry standards virtually guarantees that any new construction will suffer the same fate.

We need new Trustees on the Board – preferably ones who can articulate the needs of students and residents in non-Ann Arbor City areas of Washtenaw County. If anyone – particularly residents of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Pittsfield Township and other townships that pay taxes but receive no representation on the WCC Board – wants to throw their hat in the ring for the November election, now is the time to file paperwork with the Washtenaw County Clerk.

Photo Credit: GPA Photo Archives , via Flickr