Michigan State University students react to interim President John Engler's resignation letter

Engler submitted letter Wednesday

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

EAST LANSING, Mich. - After a tumultuous 12 months in office, Michigan State University's interim President John Engler has sent his letter of resignation to the Board of Trustees.

Engler was expected to be fired Thursday morning and the push to remove him started after he told the Detroit News editorial board that some Larry Nassar survivors were enjoying the spotlight.

Engler's 11-page resignation letter begins with, "You have advised me that five Democratic members of the MSU Board, including yourself, have requested my resignation as MSU president. The election of two new Democratic members and the appointment of a Democrat to replace George Perles has created a new majority on the board."

Engler then details the institutional change he said he accomplished at MSU. Trustees calling for his resignation aren't impressed.

"Over the last year that he's been in office very few have been talking about all the great things that have been done on this campus. It's always him in the news for comments that are inflammatory toward survivors and others,"

At best, it has been a contentious relationship between Engler and the board for the last 12 months. He fired Nassar's former boss at MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine and then got in hot water for comments about Nassar survivors and their financial settlements. Current students said they followed the drama at the top of the university but their day was more focused on their academics.

"It does affect me when I go home because I have people ask me questions, but like, going to school here I just felt like everyone kind of came together when everything happened," a student said.

"He walked into a pretty rough circumstance and a pretty rough position but again, not really my place to judge too much," a student said.

View: Engler's resignation letter.

The Board of Trustees called a special meeting for Thursday morning. It's unclear who will take over as interim president.

READEmbattled Michigan State University interim President John Engler says in letter that he will resign

The Board of Trustees previously released a timeline for finding a new president.

  • July-October 2018: Host listening sessions with stakeholders
  • July 2018: Issue request for proposals from presidential search firms
  • August 2018: Form the search committee
  • September 2018: Conduct search firm interviews and make a selection
  • October 2018: Finalize the position profile and make public
  • November 2018-January 2019: Identify candidates and conduct initial interviews
  • February-May 2019: Host finalist interviews with the Board of Trustees
  • June 2019: Announce the selection of the new MSU president

"Finding the right president for Michigan State and completing the search in accord with this newly established timeline are critical steps for MSU and its future,” said Teresa Sullivan, retiring president of the University of Virginia and a MSU alumna. “I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees and stakeholders in the Spartan community as they seek to attract a great leader for the next chapter in the life of Michigan State University.”

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