State News

WSU president is a Mackinac Conference dropout because masks are mostly optional

September 11, 2021, 10:18 AM

Michigan civic, business and nonprofit leaders will meet without him on Mackinac Island this month, President M. Roy Wilson of Wayne State University decides.

His reason: The Detroit Regional Chamber won't require masks at all indoor portions of its annual conference, Crain's Detroit Business reports.

Rules that conference attendees wear masks in just the hotel's theater and certain hallways are not consistent with WSU's on-campus indoor mask mandate, university spokesman Matt Lockwood said Friday.

"He wanted to be consistent with the university's policy and what we're asking the campus community to do," Lockwood told Crain's.

Wilson's counterparts at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan also are skipping the Sept. 20-23 Mackinac Policy Conference, but are citing different reasons. ... All three of the university presidents are medical doctors.

A scene from the 2019 event (Photo: Detroit Regional Chamber)

Samuel Stanley of MSU cites a scheduling conflict and Mark Schlissel of U-M "is staying on campus to remain focused on the successful start of the academic year," a spokesman tells the publication.

The state attorney general, Dana Nessel, also sees the gathering as a bad idea right now. "With the dramatic increase of Covid cases, she simply decided it wasn't worth the risk," a spokeswoman told Crain's two weeks ago.

Though the Detroit business group requires attendees to provide advance proof of vaccination and will hold most meals outside, masks will be optional inside the Grand Hotel's parlor, dining room and other common areas inside. Face coverings will be required in the main presentation space, a hall outside that theater and around the registration desk.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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