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NB's The Nyle Magazine

Monday, October 08, 2012



Published August 29, 2012

“Details were revealed about Eastern Michigan University president's 2005 arrest”

by Nathan’ette Burdine-Follow on Twitter@nbnylemagazine

            Details were revealed about Eastern Michigan University’s president, Dr. Susan Martin, 2005 arrest on suspicion of drinking and driving.  The 2005 incident occurred at Grand Valley State University, where Dr. Martin was the vice provost.  According to the Detroit News’ Kim Kozlowski article, “Police:  EMU President Martin expected ride home,” then vice provost Martin was driving slowly and her slow driving caught the attention of Officer Adam Schaller.  Kozlowski said that Schaller quoted Martin, within his police report, as saying,  “I thought if I was driving slow I’d be safe.”  The officer noted that Martin was not able to maintain her balance as she walked to the trunk of her car to get proof of her insurance.  According to Kozlowski, Martin told the officer,  “I don’t see how you taking me to jail is benefiting the university.  You should just take me home.  Call (GVSU Police Chief) Barb Bergers and tell her you are going to arrest me.”  Martin also stated that she needed to be in to work the next morning so she could make sure her check was “cut.”  The officer gave Martin the ticket for suspicion of DUI.  Martin informed the provost about the ticket and offered to resign.  According to Kozlowski, Grand Valley State University Spokeswoman Mary Eilleen Lyon said that an incident like that had not occurred before, it was the first-time, and was not related to Martin’s job performance.  Also, Martin assured the provost it wouldn’t happen again and it didn’t. 

            The details about Martin’s 2005 arrest came after EMU’s Board of Trustees placed her on probation.  The board cited two alcohol related incidents, which were less than two months apart, as the reason for their decision.  The first incident occurred in Washington D.C. during April of 2012, and it involved Martin using profanity laced words during an argument with an alumnus.  During the second incident, Martin received a ticket for drinking and driving.  According to the Board of Regent’s May 17, 2012, letter, Martin stated that her behavior, during the first incident, was a result of a lack of food combine with the consumption of alcohol.  Within her July 6, 2012, response letter to the board, Martin noted that the incident was unfortunate.  She also noted that she lost her temper in D.C., and that she has apologized to the alumnus for her outburst.  As for the second incident, Martin explained it as her making a bad decision and stated that it won’t happen again.  However, the board was not pleased with either explanation.  From their perspective, alcohol was becoming a common denominator in Martin’s life.  After all, there was less than two months between both alcohol related incidents.  And as a result, the board told Martin that her explanations about the incidents would not due.

The board reminded Martin that being the president of a major university automatically made her the primary face of the institution.  Therefore, she is expected to behave professionally and conduct herself in a civilize manner at all times.  And whenever she engages in behavior similar to that of April and May of 2012, she creates a situation in which the university could be held liable for her actions.  Specifically, the university provides a vehicle to Martin and the university will be liability if she is intoxicated and causes a crash or worse.  The board went on to say that they cared about Martin’s health and encouraged her to seek counseling for her issues.  The board decided that it would be best to limit Martin’s travel to work and her counseling sessions.  They ended their letter by telling Martin that if any other incidents occurred, then they will be force to end her employment, with EMU, based on Paragraph 16.1 of her employment agreement.

The board’s suggestion that Martin may be suffering from alcoholism and their threat of firing her did not sit too well with Martin.  Martin quickly responded and reminded the board that an unhealthy person would not have been able to place the substantial amount of time that she has placed in her role as the university’s president.  Martin also noted the high stress and pressures of the job, and how she has been exemplarily, up until April and May of 2012, in her role as EMU’s president.  In her July 6, 2012, letter to the board, Martin noted that she has a highly visible public job, and she lives in a public house in which people are coming and going on a regular basis.  She mentioned that she is on call 24/7 with the Department of Public Safety, and she has informed them to notify her of every serious incident occurring on campus.  According to Martin, she accepts the high stress of her job and she “thoroughly enjoys it.”  Martin stated that the fact she is able to handle such a high profile job is evidence that she is not suffering from any health issues, as suggested by the Board of Regents’ letter. 

According to the Office of the President page on EMU’s website, Dr. Martin is the university’s 22nd president and the first female to hold the position of president.  In 2008, she began her tenure as EMU’s president.  Before joining the university, Martin was the provost and vice-chancellor of academic affairs at University of Michigan-Dearborn.  Martin held this post from 2006-2008.  Martin has also worked under Michigan’s former governor, Jennifer Granholm.  According to the Office of the President page on EMU’s website, Martin worked as the ex-officio representative on the Detroit Medical Center Financial Emergency Task force from 2003-2004.  Also, during that time frame, Martin worked for the federal government on the IRS Commissioners Advisory council.  In addition to her former work, Martin serves on the boards of directors for Michigan Educational Trust and Ann-Arbor SPARK.  Ann-Arbor SPARK is a non-profit organization with the goal of bringing more businesses to the Ann Arbor area.  Dr. Martin received her Ph.D in business/accounting and her MBA from Michigan State University.  She received her baccalaureate from Central Michigan University.  According to Crain’s Detroit Business article, “Eastern Michigan University President Martin to get counseling, donate raise after alcohol-related incident,” Martin will donate her raise, $8,764, to an alcohol education fund located on EMU’s campus.







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