While the University waits for the last ballots from across the
state to be counted, Democratic incumbent Olivia Maynard appears to
have been re-elected its Board of Regents. S. Martin Taylor, the
other Democratic incumbent in the election, is leading the race for
the second spot on the board, but his victory is not yet
certain.

As of 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon, with 99 percent of state
precincts reporting, Maynard, of Ann Arbor, had received the most
ballots with 25 percent of the vote. Taylor, from Grosse Pointe
Farms, and Republican challenger Patrick Anderson of Bath Township
each gained 23 percent of the vote, with Taylor leading by about
52,000 ballots.

Republican Carl Meyers of Dearborn trailed slightly, garnering
22 percent of the vote.

The top two vote-getters will be elected to the board for
eight-year terms.

Still waiting for the final vote total to be announced,
University administrators declined to name Maynard and Taylor
winners or to comment on the election result.

But yesterday afternoon, Meyers conceded that he had lost the
chance to serve on the board.

“I am disappointed I didn’t win but certainly not
devastated,” Meyers said. “I knew going in that success
to a large degree was going to be predicated on how the top of the
ticket performed.”

The entire state votes for the University’s regents, and
many voters who are not familiar with the candidates end up
following the party line when voting for the regents. Thus, because
Michigan sided with Kerry, Maynard and Taylor received slightly
more votes, Meyers said.

Third party candidates received between 1 and 2 percent of the
vote, including Green Party candidate and LSA senior Nathaniel
Damren, who garnered 0.9 percent of ballots.

The party composition of the board hung in the balance this
year. The current board has six Democrats and three Republicans,
and Meyers’s loss guarantees that the Democrats will retain
at least a five to four majority.

The regents, who act like a board of directors for the
University, also will likely play a vital role in determining
future University policies.

For example, both Maynard and Taylor said they support the
University’s admissions policies, which use race as a factor
and require several essays, including one on diversity. Anderson,
on the other hand, pledges to put the policies up to a public
vote.

Additionally, the University has said it does not believe
Tuesday’s passage of Proposal 2, which amends the state
constitution to ban gay marriages and similar unions, applies to
how the University grants benefits to its same-sex couples.
University President Mary Sue Coleman, as well as Maynard and
Taylor, have said they are prepared to defend the benefits in
court.

Maynard and Taylor have also said they support granting
transgender students and employees special benefits and protections
against discrimination — proposals which the University
administration is currently debating.

Both Maynard and Taylor have also pledged to keep tuition rates
reasonable if re-elected, in order to keep the University
accessible to students from lower-income families. Meyers added
that despite his loss, he is happy he helped start a discussion
about important issues regarding tuition costs, curriculum and the
rate of minority graduation at the University. “I think
it’s really a win-win for the whole process to have these
issues out there,” he said.

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