Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour defended the school's new eight-year contract with its faculty union during an appearance Tuesday before a House subcommittee.
The contract, the longest ever approved by the university, was finalized just weeks ahead of the state's new right-to-work law, which takes effect March 28.
Gilmour told the subcommittee he was asked to speak about the university's efforts to keep college education affordable for Michigan students.
But, he said, to accomplish that goal, he first must address the "very public questions" that have been raised regarding the university's commitment to students and taxpayers, "specifically related to our recently ratified faculty union contract."
"Whatever your political point of view regarding unions and right to work, I urge you to put politics aside for a moment," he said. "This agreement is good for Wayne State. It is good for our students. It is good for our state. In some ways, we have right to work to thank for it, because it added a sense of urgency to negotiations that wasn't always present over the nine difficult months prior to agreement."
He continued, saying he was asked what the university "got" for the eight-year duration.
"We got an agreement that stabilizes the budgets, holds down cost increases, mitigates risk, improves accountability, prepares us to address the future, and allows our faculty to focus on teaching and research," he said. "In short: We got a lot, for the benefit of our students' futures."