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Posted on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Eastern Michigan University Regent hasn't attended board meeting in nearly 2 years

By David Jesse

Editor's note: The spelling of Mohamed Okdie's name has been corrected.

Eastern Michigan University Regent Mohamed Okdie has been to just six meetings since he was appointed to the university’s governing board in November 2007 by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Okdie, a retired school social worker from Detroit, hasn’t been to a meeting in nearly two years, an review of meeting minutes shows.

“Commitments to boards like these should not be taken lightly,” said EMU Regent James Stapleton. “It’s important that people who serve do so to help (their university) — not merely to use it as a resume builder.”

Okdie couldn't be reached for comment. EMU's eight regents serve eight-year terms in office and do not receive compensation.


Mohamed Okdie

Since Okdie was appointed, 20 board meetings have been held, roughly one a month. Comparatively, two other regents have missed four meetings in the same time period in which Okdie missed 14.

Okdie was appointed to the board in November 2007 to take over the seat vacated by Ishmael Ahmed, who left the board to become the head of the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Okdie was reappointed in January 2009 by Granholm. His current term expires in 2016.

Okdie attended meetings on Nov. 27, 2007, the first one after he was appointed; April 1, 2008; May 18, 2008, when Susan Martin was hired as the university’s president; July 30, 2008, Martin’s first meeting as president; Sept. 16, 2008, and April 21, 2009.

That means he missed 14 meetings.

During that time, other regents who missed the most meetings were Floyd Clack and former Regent Phil Incarnati, who left the board at the end of December. Both Clack and Incarnati missed four meetings since November 2007, meeting minutes show.

During that time, Okdie served on the city of Detroit’s Board of Police Commissioners and ran for Detroit City Council and for state representative. He lost both those races.

Current Gov. Rick Snyder just appointed two new regents to the board — Mike Hawks and Mike Morris. His spokeswoman, Geralyn Lasher, said “it is a priority for Governor Snyder to have participation from appointees as they play critical roles in the operations of our higher education institutions.”

EMU’s Board of Regents’ bylaws don’t address removal procedures for a regent.

The state constitution says, “The governor shall have power and it shall be his duty to inquire into the condition and administration of any public office and the acts of any public officer, elective or appointive. He may remove or suspend from office for gross neglect of duty or for corrupt conduct in office, or for any other misfeasance or malfeasance therein, any elective or appointive state officer, except legislative or judicial, and shall report the reasons for such removal or suspension to the legislature.”

EMU spokesman Geoff Larcom, who covered EMU for The Ann Arbor News before being hired by the university, said he is unaware of any regent being removed from his office at EMU. However, several have resigned.

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Wed, Jul 11, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Then why is this man still a Regent? Could it be because it's politically correct? That would be whats wrong with political correctness.


Tue, Feb 8, 2011 : 9:34 p.m.

Regents may not be paid in terms of a physical paycheck, but I'm sure there are dozens of trips and such that the University pays for with no cost incurred by the regent...


Tue, Feb 8, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

I think what troubles me more is that it took this long for the news to pick up on his absence when after 2-3 meetings it should have been spotted, or at least questioned in regards to his absence. Secondly, I wasn't all that pleased with the two appointees that Snyder appointed as I feel that nothing at the University will change and it will continued to be run by good ole Roy Wilbanks, because that's a good thing (sarcasm). I would really like to really do some investigative work in regards to the EMU Board of Regents. I'm sure there are skeletons in the closet and if you talk to the right people, they'll open up about what is really going on at EMU.


Tue, Feb 8, 2011 : 7:30 a.m.

Is this the same Mr. Okdie who ran in TWO very public elections? He ran first in 2009 for a seat on Detroit's City Council and again in 2010 for the Michigan State Senate? If he is, then the sitting (2009-2010) EMU Board of Regents should be ashamed of themselves for allowing Mr. Okdie to show such disrespect for the position of regent. Steps should have been taken long ago to remove this man.

that's a tuffy

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

I agree with Chris. Just replace him.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

Missing 14 consecutive meetings? The sad part is that no one - not the Board of Regents, the EMU president, the Governor, or anyone else ever asked this man to resign. If this fellow were a city council member, a county commisioner, or legislator, he would have been pushed out of office long ago. Conerned citizens should send e-mails to Okdie, the enitire Board of Regents and the EMU president to protest this regent's utter lack of attention to his position.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

If you want a shot at being a Regent all you have to do is go on the State of Michigan Website and fill out the application and follow the directions. Once again, this is not a paid position!


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 11:30 p.m.

Even if its not a paid position, this fellow should be appearing at meetings.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

Peter wrote: "Classic granholm! Her political friends are concerned with one thing...Government power(not saving you from big, bad,corporate greed) " I wonder, then, what to make of the fact that Governor Snyder just appointed the very same person to the EMU BoR as Governor Granholm had last summer but whom the legislature did not confirm? And what about this story suggests anything to do with "government power"? If that had been the agenda, he might actually have shown up to some meetings. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

Even if they fire him, so what? Do you want him to return all his pay? Oh you mean the ZERO dollars he received? Um, MSU and WSU have elected boards, so this is easy to fix in those instances. I also wonder would his presence matter in the meetings he did not attend. What were the issues discussed? Would his voice or vote changed anything? Having served on voluntary boards before, people tend to show up less if they are in the majority and there are others there representing their views.

Stan Hyne

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

There are comments, that if a person isn't getting paid they wouldn't do it. From my limited experience people will do things for free what they could never be paid to do. Has it occurred to anyone but me, the U might be better off without his input

E. Daniel Ayres

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

This guy was appointed to represent a rather specific constituency in an effort to insure diversity on the board. Unfortunately, he has not seen fit to meet his obligation to faithfully serve and should resign. That said, replacement by the Governor isn't the best way to select board members. Is there a way the current board can elect someone to finish out his term based on volunteers and a review of their credentials and commitment to EMU. IMHO the EMU board has long been "out of touch" in part due to the current process used to make appointments to it. Things like the outrageous expenditures on a new President's House should not have escaped board oversight and veto in the past, and might not have escaped the attention of a more institutionally representative and appropriate board.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

"There is no since on higher education if there are no jobs." and "There should be action take to have him removed." and "A camal" and "This many needs to now.".......heh... the irony here in an article about higher education is wonderful.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

Is the article about higher education or about a political appointee not doing his job?


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

DotDash is correct, the level of discussion here is often uninformed and meaningless. For example, the number of comments that imply this individual is paid, when then article clearly states that he isn't. Folks, admit that, commenting on topic when you don't even take the time to read is absurd. Hopefully will eventually give us the ability to turn off the comments.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

"Hopefully will eventually give us the ability to turn off the comments." I'm confused by your last sentence. No one has to read the comments so I don't understand your point.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

This is appalling. It is a gross neglect of duty for this individual to collect a state salary and do nothing. There should be action take to have him removed.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

In my experience as a member of a non-profit organization and past and present officer we have in our by-laws there must be a minimum of members to conduct business. So with all these absences did they legally handle there duties? As far as pay. They get paid somehow or they wouldn't do it. This Man has some clout in the Democratic Party to be set up by Jen Jen. The motto: Do what I can to destroy Michigan before I am voted out. There is no since on higher education if there are no jobs.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

Posters -- why so cynical? This man did not want to exercise power. If he did, he would have gone to meetings and pushed his weight around. Being on a board is (usually) public service -- free -- and those who do it do it to help others. Furthermore, you all know nothing about this man. Maybe he's sick. Maybe he's dead. Who knows? He certainly hasn't had a chance to respond. Can each of you say you have fulfilled your responsibilities to the letter? I know I can't. So why don't you all get off his back? Or at the very least, exercise some charity in your dealings with others. Please. Your cynicism makes a very ugly place.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Classic granholm! Her political friends are concerned with one thing...Government power(not saving you from big, bad,corporate greed) If you think a bigger government will help you, you are mistaken.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

This man obviously had no intentions of ever being a serious member of this board. I know of numerous people, including myself who would love to represent the community on the board of regents of EMU or UM and would perform admirably as a board member but we don't have the political connections to get our names submitted for consideration. This many needs to now.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

LOL This shows the value of the BOR at a state school. Missing and no one notices for two years.

Brian Bundesen

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

You get what you pay for.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. In Wal-Mart Nation, cheaper is always better. Good Night and Good Luck

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

One would hope and wish that folks in that sort of position would resign at some point early on when they realize their heart isn't in the job.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

Quick! Come on! Everyone bring your pitchforks and torches and we'll meet in the town square! Would that this were the worst dereliction of duty we had ever heard of. Sigh.


Tue, Feb 8, 2011 : 3:09 p.m. post of the bunch.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

This person should be fired and if he received any pay, it should be returned.!! No excuses and no exceptions! He would not have been appointed if he had not agreed to it up front!! When a person is appointed to any board, they have a responsibility to perform!


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

No pay.

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

Just a reminder. As the story notes, regents are not compensated for serving on the board.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

fire his butt. maybe he has learned from washington how do get paid and not do any work. if we did it we would be fired. get rid of his you know what.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

typical of most govt. appointments...


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

typical gross generalization


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Great story David.

mike from saline

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

A camal is a horse designed by a committee.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

@ Craig - That was good. My father always used to say the thing at which committees are most effective is scheduling the next committee meeting.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 1 p.m.

according to the regents web site the Student Affairs Committee is as follows: Student Affairs Committee: * vacant (chair) * Regent Mohamed Okdie (vice chair) * Bernice Lindke, vice president, student affairs and enrollment management As my late dad (RIP pop) used to say "the most efficient committee is a committee of one" .

E. Daniel Ayres

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

This is a problem too... Certainly the board has established procedures for filling vacancies in committees that report to it? It seems to me that Bernice Lindke should have taken this up both with the board and with the President of the University rather than allow the committee to remain effectively dormant.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

I would say he should be gone under the "gross neglect of duty" clause.

Christopher LeClair

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

Simply put, he shouldn't be on the Board of Regents. There are plenty of qualified people out there genuinely concerned with the school who could actually be doing something. I do not know the man or have anything against him. Good thing no money is being spent on him!


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

This is too bad but not unheard of. Republicans and Democrats have appointed poor performers. EMU deserves better and based on the absenteeism, Mr. Okdie should step aside. EMU is a large school with a great deal to offer but seems to lack an identity. Its academics could be better but it seems to flounder around saying "we're another school". I find it interesting that some academic programs have been discontinued based on an overlap with U of M and yet, programs going the other way have not been discontinued. Without a clear identity, EMU will continue to founder even with their very very solid president (first one is quite awhile too).


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

It had an identity when I went there. We were the HURON!!! Not the friggan Eagles.

Steve Pepple

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

An inappropriate comment has been removed.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.

are regents compensated? do they receive a salary? (not sure since it's an appointed position) granholm wrath


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

I am a retired corporate attorney, and I haven't had any dealings with the Board of Regents for about 20 years, but back when I did, it was an unsalaried position. There was a modest $2,500.00 per year stipend to cover "incidentals" like travel expenses to and from the meetings, and a small clothing allowance, but that was it. That could be all different now.

David Jesse

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

They are not paid.


Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 11:35 a.m.

Rick will get rid of him !

E. Daniel Ayres

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

There is no precedent for arbitrary removal of a board member by the Governor. It would be a dangerous political precedent to do so as it would allow politicians in Lansing (governors) undue influence over what should be the affairs of an independent state funded institution. Ann Arbor would be in an uproar if Rick fired the entire board of U. of M. simply to get rid of people that don't support him or the policies he is pushing which could negatively affect the institution. The same is true of EMU and Ypsilanti should support its' University the same way.