Of all the candidates running for a spot on the University’s Board of Regents, Larry Deitch is the only incumbent. After serving as a regent for the past 16 years, Deitch, a Democrat from Bingham Farms, is now seeking his third term on the board.
Deitch, a corporate attorney at Bodman LLP in Detroit, said he’s best fit to sit on the board during a time of economic turmoil in the state of Michigan.
“As I came to the end of my current term, I realized that the University is facing unprecedented challenges given, among other things, the painful economic re-structuring that the State of Michigan is undergoing,” Deitch said. “I chose to run because I believed that the University would benefit from my deep institutional knowledge and my years of experience in law, business, politics and community affairs.”
Regent Julia Darlow (D–Ann Arbor), who has served on the board with Deitch for the past two years, said Deitch’s background would make him an asset in the years ahead.
“He brings a great deal of experience that’s very valuable in terms of the business world,” she said. “We’re going to need all the ability that we can have, he is certainly going to be an important part of that.”
Deitch has been involved in many high-profile decisions since he was first elected to the board. He made a name for himself less than a year into his first term when he coauthored a resolution to add a sexual orientation protection clause to the University’s anti-discrimination policy.
“A group of faculty and staff called us up and we met with them and they explained to us how painful this was and how problematic this was,” he said. “We built a consensus for it and it’s lasted. It’s very meaningful to me personally and for the University.”
Deitch said one of his proudest accomplishments was chairing the search committee that hired University President Mary Sue Coleman.
“Hiring the president is a decision that has extraordinary impact on the life of the University and sets its direction for many years in the future,” he said.
Regent Olivia Maynard (D–Goodrich) said Deitch’s dedication to the University is evident in the work he has done with the board.
Deitch voiced passionate opposition at times, as when he spoke out against the $226 million stadium renovations along with Regent Kathy White.
“We don’t always agree, but diversity is very valuable on a board at the University,” she said. “He and I did not agree about the football stadium, and that’s okay, but we each care about and have passion for the University.”
The passion, Deitch said, is deeply rooted. Two of Deitch’s three children attended the University, and he met his wife during his time in Ann Arbor.
Deitch said the toughest part of being a regent thus far has been dealing with rising tuition costs, an issue many regent candidates have made the center of their campaign.
“You can talk to lots of people, you can talk to other candidates who say we’re going to cut tuition,” he said. “It’s easier to say than to do and the balance always has to be between keeping increases in tuition as low as possible without doing anything to diminish the value of a Michigan degree.”
If he’s re-elected, Deitch said he would try to limit the rate of tuition increases by continuing successful fundraising efforts and cutting administrative inefficiencies.