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Two EMU alums sue university for cutting sports programs

Eastern Michigan University
F. Delventhal
Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM
Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University cut four of its sports programs. Now a pair of alums is suing the school.

Doug and Mary Willer are EMU alums and are boosters for the school’s wrestling program. That program is one of the four that is being cut.

Doug was a wrestler at EMU and is in the school’s sports hall of fame.

He says the university violated the Open Meetings Act by restricting the public comment portion of a Board of Regents meeting to just 30 minutes.

“When they wouldn’t allow people to speak on the issue, I felt compelled to then file a lawsuit,” Willer said.

Mary says she went to public meetings and events regarding the cuts before they were announced.

“More information came out about how the decision was arrived upon. It just didn’t smell right to me,” she said.

The lawsuit claims the university violated the state’s Open Meetings Act, but the university disputes this claim.

Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations for the University, says EMU is planning a “vigorous defense.”

“The facts in this situation are clear. No violation of the Open Meetings Act occurred at our Board of Regents meeting because the decision to reduce varsity sports is an administrative decision and does not require approval of the Board of Regents. As such, the decision was not presented to the Regents for their approval,” Larcom said.

EMU’s president announced that men’s wrestling, men’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis and softball will be cut at a press conference back in March. The university says these cuts will add about $2.4 million to its annual budget.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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