Deans' Response to Regent Weiser's Remarks


Many of you are aware of the comments that Regent Ron Weiser made on Thursday at the North Oakland Republican Club meeting. All of these comments are unacceptable to our values as a school, and they had to be called out. His words are particularly unworthy of women leaders and of our students who will aspire to these roles in future. I am sharing below the letter that the six women deans on the UM-Ann Arbor campus sent yesterday to the regent. All deans and directors from across campus signed in solidarity.

Please take a moment on this Monday to think about the future that we want and are willing to speak for. One that is fair and positive, powered by respect, quick to recognize the worth of others. I wish you a great week ahead.

My best,

Patricia D. Hurn, Ph.D., RN

Dean and Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing

Dear Regent Weiser, 

We are writing as the six women deans on the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus in protest of the comments that you made on Thursday at the North Oakland Republican Club meeting. We find your comments about elected leaders in the state of Michigan to be insulting, demeaning to women, and contrary to the democratic values of our state and country. While your remarks may have been motivated by your personal views, they are damaging to the community of the University of Michigan and the schools and colleges that we lead given your role as a regent. 

Your words do damage and disrespect not only to women in leadership positions, whether elected or appointed, but also to young women who will lead in the future. We must speak out in protest when women are threatened with violence because of the decisions they have made. We believe that sexist name calling and threats of violence, especially from those in positions of power, simply are not acceptable. This is not a context-dependent question: they are not acceptable. 

We feel strongly that your comments do not support the university’s and our units’ values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Nor do your comments support robust civil debate and democratic engagement. The latter point is particularly saddening and ironic because you have been a champion of democratic values through institutions you have supported on our campus.

Whether or not you are speaking in your official capacity as a regent, you remain a representative of the university, and you have a responsibility to the university community you lead. 

We call on you to repair the serious harm you have caused.

In the interest of being supportive of our community members and upholding the values of the university, we are also sharing our views with our communities.


Anne Curzan
Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Patricia Hurn
Dean, School of Nursing

Laurie McCauley
Dean, School of Dentistry

Elizabeth Birr Moje

Dean, School of Education

Lori Ploutz-Snyder
Dean, School of Kinesiology

Lynn Videka
Dean, School of Social Work

Signing in solidarity:

Michael S. Barr
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

DuBois Bowman
Dean, School of Public Health

Roger D. Cone
Vice Provost and Director of the Biosciences Initiative
Mary Sue Coleman Director, Life Sciences Institute

Scott DeRue
Edward J. Frey Dean, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Thomas A. Finholt
Dean, School of Information

Alec D. Gallimore
Robert J. Vlasic Dean, College of Engineering

David Gier
Dean, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

James L. Hilton
Vice Provost for Academic Innovation 
Dean of Libraries

David Lam
Director, Institute for Social Research

Jonathan Massey
Dean, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Bruce Mueller
Dean, College of Pharmacy

Gunalan Nadarajan
Dean, Penny W Stamps School of Art and Design

Jonathan T. Overpeck
Samuel A. Graham Dean, School for Environment and Sustainability

Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, University of Michigan Medical School

Michael J. Solomon
Dean, Rackham School of Graduate Studies

Mark West
David A. Breach Dean, Law School