Trustees Call for President of Michigan State University to Resign
By Larry Lage and Alice Yin
June 15, 2018
Two Michigan State University board trustees are calling for interim school President John Engler to resign, joining a chorus of sexual assault victims of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar and top legislators who say the campus community cannot heal until Engler steps down.
“Unfortunately, and with great regret, John Engler’s tenure as interim president has continued the bleeding rather than stem it,” Brian Mosallam said in a statement Friday. “His misguided actions and comments have failed to re-establish trust and confidence in Michigan State.”
His disapproval was echoed by trustee Dianne Byrum a few hours later.
“The despicable and disparaging comments made about survivors by interim President John Engler are completely unacceptable,” she said.
Engler sent emails in April to another university official criticizing lawyers who represent Nassar’s assault victims and suggesting the first woman to go public with her accusations was probably getting a “kickback” from her attorney.
Michigan State has since agreed to a $500 million settlement with hundreds of women and girls who said they were sexually assaulted by Nassar, a former campus sports doctor now serving decades in prison.
“I’m very grateful to see leadership coming from trustee Mosallam,” said Rachael Denhollander, the Nassar victim mentioned in the Engler emails.
Engler was unbowed Friday, saying he is looking ahead to a public Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Friday, “where we will continue our progress and efforts to move forward.”
“Whatever the tensions were before, we have successfully negotiated a settlement agreement — something that is fair and equitable to both sides,” he said in a statement.
Engler was hired by trustees after Lou Anna Simon suddenly resigned in January in the wake of the Nassar crisis that also prompted the retirement of athletic director Mark Hollis.
Nassar was fired from Michigan State in 2016, two years after he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation.