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Oakland University groups call out former Gov. Rick Snyder headlining ‘civility’ event 

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Oakland University groups call out former Gov. Rick Snyder headlining ‘civility’ event 

Sep 14, 2023 | 10:42 am ET
By Ken Coleman
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Oakland University groups call out former Gov. Rick Snyder headlining ‘civility’ event 
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Rick Snyder | Susan J. Demas

Two Oakland University-based organizations are calling out a school decision to host GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder in an Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement event on Monday.

The event is titled, “Breaking the Barrier: The Importance of Civility and Improving Political Discourse.”

In response, two campus groups, the Oakland University Campus Alliance for Sustainability and the Environment (CASE-OU) and Oakland University Community Concerned about Civility and Justice, “are demanding event organizers include folks who were directly victimized by Snyder’s policies in the panel discussion,” according to their joint-issued press release. 

Federal judge drops Flint water crisis charges against Snyder

“It’s troubling to say the least that our university would invite former Gov. Snyder to campus as an authority on civil political discourse,” said Jeff Insko, member of CASE-OU. “Treating Snyder as an authority on civility whitewashes his role in some of the worst environmental and social injustices in Michigan in decades. Not only is he responsible for poisoning the citizens of Flint and denying tens of thousands of Detroiters their basic right to water, he also forced through the Line 5 oil tunnel plan in the Straits of Mackinac at a moment when the planet is on fire.”

In December, a federal judge dismissed charges against Snyder related to the Flint water crisis.

Alan Epstein of Oakland University Community Concerned about Civility and Justice said that “Snyder’s emergency manager laws and policies wrested power from Black-majority municipal governments for the sake of imposing draconian austerity policies.

“While it’s true emergency managers along with Snyder no longer hold office,convening a panel discussion on civility that excludes the voices of those who continue to suffer from the previous regimes of undemocratic emergency management both legitimizes those deplorable policies and dishonors Oakland University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

The discussion is the inaugural event for the Dennis Muchmore Public Policy Series and will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Oakland Center. Muchmore, a former lobbyist, also was Snyder’s chief of staff during his tenure as governor.

Snyder, who served as Michigan governor between 2011 and 2019, did not respond to an Advance call and email to his SensCy cybersecurity firm’s office in Ann Arbor. 

Oakland University’s press office referred the Advance to David Dulio, a university political science professor, for comment. He did not return an email and phone call.