Michael Hsu is running for a second term on the UMN Board of Regents representing the Sixth Congressional District. While cultivating an image of being a tough-talking independent that will hold the university accountable, Hsu has instead spent his time on the Board posturing and engaging in countless deceptive interactions with students, faculty, and workers—the very people whose interests he claims to be advocating for. Over these last 6 years, as demonstrated by the petition against his candidacy signed by almost 1000 people, Regent Hsu has alienated many on campus who would have happily worked with him to address tuition increases and bloated administrator salaries if he was being genuine about these concerns.
- Hsu’s rhetoric on a tuition freeze contradicts a six-year term where he has routinely voted to increase out-of-state tuition and fees, and has pushed to reduce tuition waivers for Native American students at UMN-Morris. When he has voted against increases in tuition and administrative pay, he failed to galvanize any effective support from other board members. Hsu has done nothing over the years to work with the many students who’ve fought for tuition freezes or decreases. Their experiences meeting with him directly have made it clear that he does not intend to work with students to accomplish anything substantive on this front.
- Hsu has been an outspoken skeptic when it comes to combating sexual misconduct on campus. Hsu voted against the adoption of the U’s affirmative consent policy and attempted to place a hold on the hiring of Provost Rachel Croson pending further details of her involvement in a confidential Title IX case. Hsu infringed on the Title IX confidentiality protocol by revealing, during deliberation over the appointment of Provost Croson, that he had received an anonymous letter from a community member in East Lansing about Croson’s handling of a Title IX case when she was Michigan State University’s Dean of Social Sciences. He moved to suspend Croson’s appointment based on this letter alone, without any knowledge of the case itself.
- Hsu also voiced concerns about Croson’s proposed salary, set at $500,000, and ultimately cited this as a reason to oppose Croson’s contract. While many will agree that this is a bloated administrative salary, Hsu said nothing during his almost simultaneous approval of football coach P.J. Fleck’s 7-year, $33.25 million contract, a hypocritical double standard.
- Regent Hsu’s reputation as an athletics reformer is at odds with this unwavering and uncritical support for the well-financed athletics program. He has continued to ignore accusations of a toxic workplace culture and mismanagement in Athletics and the football program, and led an attempt to restart the most recent football season despite concerns about player exposure to COVID-19.
- When Regent Hsu has worked to gain consensus on the board, it has been to uphold the university’s legacies of discrimination. During the April 2019 Board meeting, Regents Hsu, Rosha, and Simonson led the way to delegitimize the work of President Kaler’s Task Force on Building Names and Institutional History, and challenged its recommendations to change building names that commemorate segregationist and anti-Semitic former administrators. Hsu accused the University’s own professors and students of academic dishonesty when their recommendations differed from his opinion, called for university scholars to be investigated, and tried to leave the board meeting when the acting Board Chair asked police to forcibly remove Dr. John Wright, a renowned expert in the field of African American studies, during a board meeting.
- Hsu continues to misrepresent his role in this affair. The Star Tribune has reviewed the Renaming Task Force’s correspondence and has concluded that there is “no evidence that the task force intentionally excluded or twisted information to malign former President Lotus Coffman and the other former leaders, as some regents have charged.” Still, in his Regent Candidate Advisory Council interview, Hsu repeated the claim that “[the Task Force chairs] didn’t answer my questions in the meeting so I had to further probe.” His accusations ring false; the records of the relevant meetings reveal that task force members were simply never given an opportunity to explain their findings or respond to Hsu’s dismissal of their research.
The overwhelming experience of countless meetings and extensive engagement have made it clear that Regent Hsu is more concerned with cultural battles that raise his own public profile than he is with building consensus and improving the state of the university community. We hope that you take seriously the lived experience of so many and vote against him at the convention.