02/01/19 WSU Med School Dean Search Concerns

Dear Colleagues;

On Wednesday, January 30th, President M. Roy Wilson sent a message to the members of the bargaining unit in the WSU School of Medicine announcing the departure of Vice President for Health Affairs, Mr. David Hefner, and his intention to replace Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Jack Sobel, at the upcoming end of his contract. He announced the combination of the two positions and the beginning of a search for someone to fill this new position.

The next day after the President's announcement, I sent the attached demand for information to him. His message properly cites the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as laying out the terms under which a search committee for the Dean of our School of Medicine is formed. The CBA allows for the President to appoint some members from "affiliated medical organizations" to the search committee. The President announced in his message his intention to appoint a representative of the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) as co-chair of the search committee. The CBA is silent on the matter of whether an appointed representative of an "affiliated medical organization" can serve as chair, or co-chair of the search committee. "Affiliation" between two companies, or organizations, is a legal term. His announcement raises the question of whether or not the HFHS is legally an "affiliated medical organization" to the University.

Beyond the legal issues involved are the political dimensions of the situation. There are a goodly number of members of the School of Medicine who feel that it has been the intention of the President to deliver control over it to HFHS. Some also feel that this is the reason that there has been so little transparency in the negotiations conducted by Vice President Hefner between the University and HFHS. It would seem prudent for the President to clarify the issues raised by his intention to appoint a representative of HFHS to co-chair the search for someone to become Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine.

In solidarity,

Charlie Parrish


Charles J. ParrishPresident, AAUP-AFT, Local 6075, WSU ChapterVice President-at-Large, AFT MichiganPresident, AAUP Michigan ConferenceMember-at-Large, National Council, AAUP5057 Woodward Avenue, Suite 3301Detroit, MI 48202313-577-1750