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MSU Board of Trustees has new member

Posted: 2:53 PM, Dec 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-04 14:53:35-05
Rene Knake.jpg

LANSING, Mich. — There is a new member of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees as of Wednesday.

On December 4, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Renee Knake to the board.

“As a proud Spartan, I understand how important it is to have someone on the board who will do right by students, staff, and alumni. I know Renee will work with President Stanley to ensure that Michigan State embodies a culture that respects diversity, values and listens to all survivors, and makes college education more affordable and accessible for Michigan families,” said Whitmer. “I’m confident that Renee’s professional background and unique skillset is what Michigan State University needs right now.”

According to the release sent by Whitmer's office, prior to this appointment, members of the Whitmer Administration met with students from Michigan State University to engage in a dialogue about the board seat.

Knake will be filling the spot on the board that has been vacant since former board member Nancy Schlichting resigned in October.

Knake resides in East Lansing and is a law professor and an author.

Her bio states that she serves as a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and is the Joanne and Larry Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics. And, she is the director of Outcomes and Assessments and a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equality Committee. Also, prior to joining the University of Houston in 2016, Knake spent over 10 years at Michigan State University, receiving tenure at the College of Law and also teaching at the Eli Broad College of Business and the Honors College. While at MSU, she was the director of the 21st Century Law Practice Summer Program in London and co-founder of the ReInvent Law Laboratory for Law, Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. She also is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) issued the following statement after the appointment:
“Our students, their families and the entire MSU community deserve a Board and administration that will listen, instill accountability, and act transparently and ethically. As an author and attorney, Professor Knake is a leading voice on ethics, gender diversity, and first amendment rights. These are all qualities that will serve her very well in this role. It’s time to restore trust, which begins with waiving privilege and an independent review.”

Whitmer said that Knake’s work and advocacy has helped prevent sexual harassment and assault in the legal community.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the students, staff, and alumni at MSU and am eager to work with my partners on the Board of Trustees to ensure the safety and security of everyone on campus,” said Knake. “I’ve dedicated my career to ensuring diversity in institutions like Michigan State, and I’m prepared to continue that work as a trustee. I know that as an MSU grad, this is an issue the governor cares deeply about, and I’m committed to ensuring that she and everyone else who graduates from Michigan State is proud to be a Spartan for life.”

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