EDITORIAL: Tell us how you really feel, take CM Life's survey of President Davies leadership


CMU president Bob Davies at an introductory press conference for new AD Amy Folan on Sept. 22, 2019 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

One of the words Board of Trustees Chair Richard Studley used to describe President Bob Davies job performance over the past three years was “outstanding.”

That review was delivered in a meeting space that had students protesting outside it Inside, other students and faculty spoke, directly criticizing the board and Davies for not listening to campus complaints. 

That board of trustees meeting was two days after an Academic Senate meeting in which faculty brought up multiple issues from the past year - including a botched website launch, mistake scholarship emails, lack of shared governance and a new parking app nobody asked for - Studley described Davies as “above average.”

No one at Central Michigan University right now would describe anything on this campus as "outstanding" – certainly not morale. 

This fall, CMU experienced a 2,000-student enrollment decline compared to the previous academic year. That decline is certainly "above average" – it was one of the worst among Michigan public universities. 

Yet, with all the issues facing the university, Davies received a glowing review – and a $35,000 pay increase with a $75,000 bonus.

This is our Board of Trustees. This is what passes for oversight. 

So what was this review process like? Last year, a group of about 385 "university stakeholders" and community members were invited to complete a Presidential Assessment Survey. Studley reported about 50% of those who received the survey responded. The survey results were included in the "Presidential Assessment Committee Report" available on cmich.edu.  

Those 335 stakeholders "represent a cross-section of the university and local communities" and have experience working with Davies. How those 335 people were chosen is unclear. 

We know the survey includes responses from student and faculty leaders, other administrators; Alumni Board and Advancement Board members; senior leaders; community leaders (including members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Council) state and area lawmakers; and current trustees as well as former Board of Trustees chairs.

The remaining 50 were randomly selected from students, faculty, staff and alumni. 

The fact is, if the Board of Trustees wanted an accurate assessment of Davies’ leadership and community morale, they should have just asked us for it. No one has been shy in expressing their frustrations and concerns since the start of the Fall 2021 semester. 

A letter to the editor published Feb. 21 outlines many student concerns. 

Anybody who is a student, professor, staff member or resident near CMU is a university stakeholder – end of story.

So, stakeholders, we like to know what you think.

Central Michigan Life has launched its own version of the survey used to evaluate President Davies. It contains all the same questions that were on the Presidential Assessment Committee’s survey. The link to the survey is available on our social media pages until March 18 – the second to the last day of Sunshine Week. 

Like the Board of Trustees survey, if you participate in CM Life’s survey your identity will not be disclosed. However, you can only participate if you have an active cmich.edu email – something that all stakeholders have. If you are a community member, we encourage you to write a letter to the editor and sent it to editor@cm-life.com 

Your opinions are valuable. Your voices deserve to be heard. 

We hope the response from stakeholders will be ... outstanding.