Gotion update

Pink addresses rumors about housing “Chinese nationalists”

President Bill Pink released a video addressing the claim that Ferris intends to house hundreds of Chinese citizens employed by Gotion, Inc. last Thursday. 

Pink released his statement on YouTube, encouraging the community to be cautious when listening to “rumors” and “falsehoods.”  

“Let me give it to you firsthand… As president of this university, I can tell you that no one from that company has had a conversation with me, asking Ferris State University to house anyone on this campus,” Pink said in the video. 

Ferris has been involved in the planning of an electric vehicle battery plant since September of last year. Concerns about the factory’s environmental impact and parent company are now surfacing on both university and national levels. 

While Gotion Inc. is headquartered in Silicon Valley, it is a subsidiary of Hefei Guoxuan High-Tech Power Energy Co. based in China. Gotion’s Inc.’s own Vice President of North American Operations Chuck Thelen has responded to claims made by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon that the company has an allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party.  

“There is no CCP organization influence. No person on the leadership team is a CCP member. There is no CCP organization or influence to the [North American] operation,” Thelen said.  

Thelen plans to appear in multiple interviews and press releases in the coming days because “the truth has not been out there yet.” 

“I’m surprised that people are making the claims as wildly as they are,” Thelen said to the press last week. “The other claim that we’re going to inundate the rapids with 250 migrant workers from China, that makes no sense. We will bring our centers of expertise, experts to help set up the equipment and the process. That will probably be somewhere between 20 to 50 people.” 

Recent coverage from the Big Rapids Pioneer reports that Thelen, Pink and Big Rapids Township Supervisor Bill Stanek have all signed non-disclosure agreements, potentially limiting their ability to confirm or deny claims from the public. 

“When asked where these folks would live, [Thelen] simply stated ‘we would build housing for them.’ When we questioned where, he ceased talking about the topic,” Big Rapids Township treasurer Penny Currie said to the Pioneer. 

Ferris will host an informational panel about the Gotion factory on April 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the David L. Eisler Center. Panelists will feature representatives from Ferris, Gotion, the Right Place non-profit organization and various fields including water, energy and waste.