EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University has a new interim president.
John Engler submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday evening, and on Thursday, the MSU board of trustees voted unanimously to accept his resignation. The board made the resignation effective immediately and voted for Satish Udpa to fill the vacant spot.
Udpa has a long history with MSU, but he began his academic career by earning a doctorate in electrical engineering from Colorado State University. He joined the MSU faculty in 2001 and has served as the dean of the College of Engineering and most recently as executive vice president for administration.
The board said Udpa has all the qualities necessary in this time of crisis. He'll serve as interim president until a permanent replacement is selected.
"This institution means a lot to me," Udpa said. "One of the things I want to do is look forward. I don't want to look back and point fingers. I want to do my very best for this institution."
The chair of the MSU board of trustees, Dianne Byrum, will head the search for a new president. She told Local 4 that there's a pool of good candidates and they are on target to name a new president in July.
Udpa is not a candidate for permanent president of MSU.
Byrum released the following statement:
"Today, the Board accepted the resignation of John Engler as interim president of Michigan State University. The Board appointed Satish Udpa to serve as acting president until the conclusion of our presidential search. We anticipate a permanent president will be on campus by July.
MSU has been working hard to make needed improvements regarding the prevention of and response to sexual misconduct and relationship violence, as well as enhancing patient care and safety. But none of our work will matter if our leaders say hurtful things and do not listen to survivors. Engler’s statements regarding survivors of sexual assault have been extremely hurtful and do not reflect the values of our university. The Board deeply regrets the impact on survivors and our community.
The Board appreciates all the MSU community collectively does to keep the university dedicated to its mission of advancing knowledge and transforming lives. We are diligently seeking a new leader to continue our healing and guide our campus to achieve our aspirations in integrity, inclusion, research and education."
One of the survivors who attended the meeting was Kaylee Lorincz. She has publicly sparred with Engler over the last year, including an exchange that outraged a lot of people.
Lorincz told the MSU board of trustees during a meeting in April that Engler had tried to secretly settle her civil suit against the university for $250,000 without her attorney being present.
Michigan's new attorney general, Dana Nessel, wants lawyers to question Engler over what she said was a lack of transparency while he was interim president. She is expecting him to honor that request now that he's no longer working for MSU.