On Friday, the University of Michigan Board of Regents held a special meeting and voted to censure -- or formally disapprove of -- Regent and Michigan GOP chair Ron Weiser over controversial comments he made about Michigan lawmakers.
It is the first time in the school’s more than 200-year history that members of the Board of Regents have censured one of their own.
Weiser landed in hot water after he was caught on camera at a recent party meeting calling top state lawmakers “witches” and referencing “assassination” when talking about two Michigan GOP Reps. who voted to impeach former president Donald Trump.
The resolution to censure Regent Weiser passed with six votes, one abstention and one absence.
Board of Regents Chairwoman Denise Ilitch said that the Board cannot simply remove Weiser since he is an elected official, and that any efforts taken would be complex and lengthy.
In response, Weiser read this brief statement:
“As a University of Michigan Regent, I take full responsibility for what I said and I am sorry and regret my poorly chosen words that were offhand remarks made at a private Republican party meeting. I agree with part of this resolution, but I will not resign. I pledge to be a part of a respectful dialogue going forward and challenge my colleagues and others to do the same. I will not be canceled.”
Regent Jordan Acker hit back at Weiser, saying his response lacks accountability.
“Your words could have killed someone,” said Regent Acker. “You should be sorry because you as a leader must know the power of words. You have forced this Board to take this painful and permanent step against one of our own. I hope that you will take the step to fix the damage that you have caused to our community, to our campuses, to our Board and to our institution.”
Founder of real estate investment company McKinley Associates Inc., Weiser graduated from U-M’s Ross School of Business in 1966.
Weiser and his wife are among the top ten donors to the university, having donated more than $120 million to establish The Elizabeth Weiser Caswell Diabetes Institute, the Weiser Diplomacy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and more.
The Board of Regents acknowledged and thanked Weiser for his extensive commitment of time and resources to the university, but said his comments crossed a line.
“This special meeting is as unprecedented in our 200-year history as it is unavoidable,” said Regent Mark Bernstein. “It would be easy to dismiss Regent Weiser’s remarks as just partisan politics as usual, or a mere slip of the tongue. But this conduct cannot be called politics as usual. Threatening rhetoric has no place in even the most partisan circumstances.”
A spokesperson for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Regent Weiser’s remarks “will remain a stain on the university and our state as a whole for a long time.”
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