Protesters, students plan to loudly oppose $25,000 bonus to WSU president today

Wayne State University. Photo by Steve Neavling.
Wayne State University. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Reckless spending. Steep tuition hikes. Declining black enrollment.

Community activists, students and faculty say it’s the wrong time to give Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson a $25,000 bonus that would boost his salary to $522,000.

WSU President Roy Wilson
WSU President Roy Wilson

Protesters and others are planning to speak out at today’s public Board of Governors meeting in an attempt to stop board members from approving the bonus.

Motor City Muckraker reported earlier this month that the elected Board of Governors approved the bonus in a secret phone meeting in July, just a month after raising tuition 4.2%. After we published the story, the board said it would vote in public at 4 p.m. today at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Gilmour Mall.  

“Cockroaches do most of their damage and work in the dark,” Minister Malik Shabazz, a community activist, said. “When you shine the light, they scatter. You don’t have the right to meet and vote in secret.”

Shabazz, who is mobilizing community members to attend the meeting, said the bonus sends a wrong message as the university continues to raise tuition and lose black students at an alarming rate.

“We don’t want to go to war with Wayne State,” Shabazz said. “We want to work with them, but they are so damn hardheaded and sneaky.”

Instead of giving the president a bonus, Shabazz, students and others have said the Board of Governors needs to stop raising tuition and devise a plan to recruit more black students.

On Thursday, Motor City Muckraker reported that black enrollment has plummeted from 6,317 in 2009 to 3,311 in 2015.    

Wayne State has increased tuition 152% since 2003.

We will provide live video of the Board of Governors meeting on Facebook and Periscope.

“We want everyone to come out,” Shabazz said.
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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.