First, I am witnessing the events at CMU from afar. Unlike the story at Emory University in which I am plugged into most of the insiders, I am mostly gathering information on this story through common allies over the internet. That said, my initial observation is that the media seems to be doing its duty in this story and unlike the story at Emory. I found this article from the Detroit Free Press. it should initially be noted that the article came about after a freedom of information act request from the paper about internal emails. Compare that to the Grady situation and you find that nearly two weeks later we still have no copy of the JCAHO report.
But it appears there was relatively less internal discussion about the prospect of Peters becoming a candidate for Congress. He has announced plans to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg of Bloomfield Township next year.
CMU's Lansing lobbyist Kathleen Wilbur raised questions about whether hiring someone about to enter a highly partisan contest might pose problems for the university, which must rely on support from elected officials in both major parties.
Interim Provost Gary Shapiro responded, "I think this has to be weighed against the possibility that Peters might run and win.... I have checked and Peters is viewed very positively by Gov. Grandholm" (his spelling).
It appears university officials saw a potential U.S. Congressional candidate as a huge boon and didn't really examine the draw backs as much as the positives. While the governor's endorsement is certainly a good thing, it really is beside the point. There is a clear potential conflict of interest and that has nothing to do with whether or not the governor likes Peters. Furthermore, the emails reveal that Peter's hiring was weighed heavily by his political perspective. That goes against the very policies the university instituted.
In addition, even if not illegal, acts are prohibited if they discriminate against any university community member(s) through inappropriate limitation of or access to, or participation in, educational, employment, athletic, social, cultural or other university activities on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or weight.
Thus, if they looked to specifically hire a liberal, they would have been violating their own policies.
Here is the entire 170 pages worth of documents.
I have also discovered several sites that are much more tuned in than I am. For more details, go here, here and here.