Two of the most generous individual donors to One United Michigan, a group opposed to the state ballot proposal to ban some affirmative action programs, live in a house directly behind the Hatcher Graduate Library and across South University Avenue from the Law School. They are University President Mary Sue Coleman and her husband, Kenneth Coleman.
The Colemans have each donated $5,500 to the group, according to campaign finance reports released Friday by the Secretary of State’s office. They were just two of many donors on campus who gave heavily to One United Michigan and Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is facing a challenge from Republican businessman Dick DeVos.
Only a few University employees gave to DeVos and the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, the group supporting Proposal 2.
Coleman and other University leaders often speak about the potential negative impacts of the proposal, including its effects on campus diversity and programs that encourage women to enter fields such as science and engineering.
In a September interview, Coleman said she cannot explicitly tell people how to vote on a ballot initiative or in a race, but she can educate them about how she thinks the outcome would affect the University.
One United Michigan raised more than $2.5 million from July 4 to Oct. 22, the period covered by the report. Much of that money came from corporations like Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Greektown Casino and Comerica Bank, all of which have given at least $150,000 to the campaign.
Close behind the Colemans was University Regent Olivia Maynard (D-Goodrich), who gave $3,000 to the group. The other seven regents have also given to candidates around the state.
Ted Spencer, the University’s director of admissions, gave $500.
University employees who donated more than $100 in a calendar year – the threshold above which contributors have to report their employer – gave a total of $15,275 to One United Michigan since July.
Only one University employee, Law School Prof. Douglas Kahn, has given more than $100 to the MCRI in the same period. He donated $150.
RC Prof. Carl Cohen donated $2,400 to MCRI in 2004, but has not written a check to the group since then.
One United Michigan has spent most of its $2.5 million on TV and radio ads as well as staff and mailings, leaving it with just over $34,517 on hand.
The MCRI committee raised $911,408 during the same period. Most of that came from the California-based American Civil Rights Coalition, a group founded by anti-affirmative-action crusader Ward Connerly. MCRI still has $622,410 in the bank.
Contributions from University employees were nearly as lopsided in the race for governor. They donated $5,806 to Granholm and just $1,225 to DeVos between Aug. 29 and Oct. 22.
The race for governor is already the most expensive in state history.
DeVos has spent more than three times as much as Granholm since the campaign began. Granholm has spent $11.6 million, while DeVos spent $39.3 million. Much of that came from DeVos’s own fortune. He has donated $34.5 million to his campaign.
Granholm has $4 million on hand, compared to DeVos’s $1.9 million. But that number is almost irrelevant, as the wealthy Republican can continue spending his own money.
DeVos is the former CEO of Alticor, the parent company of Amway. His father founded the company.
University men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker will join Michigan State University coach Tom Izzo and coaches from across Michigan at a press conference in Okemos today to voice his opposition to Proposal 2.