EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State University Board of Trustees has two seats up for grabs this year.
Mike Balow, a U.S. Navy veteran from Detroit, and Travis Menge a Grand Rapids orthopedic surgeon, both are running for a seat on the board.
“With universities across our state and across our country, there are a lot of health care related issues that come up. And I think it's important to have somebody with good health care leadership experience on the board of trustees,” Menge said.
Menge is running, in part, on opposition to the university’s vaccine mandate.
“I really oppose the one size fits all vaccine mandates across campus, I think that should be something that the students and faculty can make a decision based on their own risk-based in conjunction with their personal physicians,” he said.
His campaign also focuses on improving the quality of education for students while making it affordable.
“As a physician and a health care provider, one thing that I look at when I take care of patients is I look at the overall value of the care that we provide,” he said. “I would like to bring a higher or better value of education to our students. And I think we accomplish that both through improving our quality as well as controlling our cost.”
Balow said his campaign is centered around putting Michigan State students first. He believes the university isn’t living up to the “Spartans Will,” slogan.
“I say 'who will? I will,' like I will put our kids first in that office,” Balow said.
Specifically, he’s fighting against mandatory remote learning, mask mandates and the vaccine mandate.
“This is really about our kids," he said. "I have a junior at Michigan State. And my firm belief that is firm as in bedrock, is the kids need to come first."
When MSU cut the swim and dive program, Balow regularly attended Board of Trustee meetings, advocating for the team to be reinstated.
“Our flagship state university needs to put our kids' education before any other special interest. And that includes in the classroom, sports extracurriculars. Like we should not be cutting any programs, we should be adding them.
Both candidates got the endorsement of the state Republican Party. They'll be on the ballot in November.
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