Response to President Wilson
President M. Roy Wilson, in a message to the Department of Pediatrics faculty, again mischaracterizes my position in relation to the controversies surrounding the conflict between the University Physicians (UP) and his Administration. The issue continues to be the matter of the proper allocation of the Medicaid Enhancement Physician Payment Program (MEPP) federal and state funds sent to the University by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). In his message he states that he has asked the MDHHS for a review of how these funds were handled and whether they were properly reallocated in appropriate amounts to the clinical services. Good! What has been asked of him in relation to this matter is for him to order a transparent accounting for these funds. This can be done without waiting on action by the MDHHS.
President Wilson called my last message to bargaining unit members as “misleading” because I relied on the report of facts by Jay Greene of Crain’s Detroit Business. Mr. Greene’s statement that there needed to be a transparent accounting for the funds was quoted. President Wilson could have provided such an accounting anytime since the beginning of this controversy.
President Wilson also states that now that since he has called for a MDHHS investigation, he is instructing his administrators “not respond to media requests” about the MEPP funds, because the issues are “so difficult to understand.” My view is that the issues are not complicated. The Administration’s legal rationale for their actions may be complicated. But, even that has not been made public so that we can judge the matter.
The issue is separable into three easily understandable questions:
1. How much money came to the University under the MEPP program?
2. Where did the money go?
3. What is the legal justification for this allocation?
President Wilson has not hesitated in the past to go to the media in these controversies when it suits his purposes. He informed Mr. Greene of Crain’s (March 6, 2019) that he was ordering an investigation by “the university’s legal counsel” into some members of the Board of Governors who he concluded had “broken the board’s ethics code.” No such code has ever been adopted by the Board. It is unclear on what legal authority the President can investigate those to whom he reports. President Wilson also released to the press an incendiary letter of resignation by Dwight Monson, his consultant who was paid millions, in which he made charges against a Board member. President Wilson has been quite willing to go to the media when is suits his purposes, but he now calls for media silence.
In his message to Pediatrics, President Wilson states that the further discussion of these controversies in the media, “only serves to advance the agendas of those who are not necessarily aligned with what is in the best interests of Wayne State University.” I am not completely sure whom he is accusing, but I suspect that they include anyone who questions him. As to the members of the Board of Governors, I have interacted personally with each of them and I respect their dedication to the difficult work of setting policy for the University. In my judgment, all of them, whether or not they support the President on whatever current issue is being discussed, have the best interests of the University foremost in their minds as they act in their unpaid official capacities.
Let us hope that as much information as possible will be made available and that the legalities of the situation will be resolved quickly. We need for these controversies to be put behind us quickly.
Charles J. Parrish
Professor, Political Science
President, WSU AAUP-AFT Local 6075
Vice President At-Large, AFT Michigan
5057 Woodward Ave., Suite 3301
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 4820
(313) 577-8160 (office)