Michigan State University Interim President John Engler urged to resign

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 17:22:07-04

He’s only been on the job for a few months. And now two Trustees are among others urging Michigan State University Interim President John Engler to resign over criticizing survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar.

Private email obtained by The Chronicle of Higher Education shows Engler said Rachael Denhollander was likely to get a “kickback” from her lawyer for manipulating other survivors.

Trustee Brian Mosallam tells 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner, “He needs to resign immediately. He lacks empathy.  He lacks the tone needed to be University President.”

Trustee Dianne Byrum says, “He’s the wrong leader for Michigan State University.  He needs to step down and resign.”

Denhollander said, “I think Engler has made it very clear that he’s not capable of leading MSU out of this crisis. To characterize not just myself as manipulating for money, but to characterize all these other women as pawns, as being too stupid to know that they’re manipulated, is a gross mischaracterization of sexual assault survivors that is going to set the tone on campus."

Mosallom added, “His comments regarding Rachael Denhollander are unconscionable. He is not fit to lead Michigan State.”

John Engler was hired to heal MSU in the wake of the Dr. Larry Nassar case in which he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and young women.  The university reached a global settlement with all of the known victims totaling a half billion dollars. 

It would take 5 of the 8 Trustees to vote to fire Engler.  The next board meeting is Friday, June 22.

In a statement today, Engler said:

I continue to look ahead. Whatever the tensions were before, we have successfully negotiated a settlement agreement — something that is fair and equitable to both sides, and that both sides agreed to. We are now committed to continuing our efforts to strengthen sexual misconduct prevention on and off campus and to respond promptly to and appropriately if prevention fails.

I am looking forward to the Board of Trustee meeting next week where we will continue our progress and efforts to move forward. I believe actions matter, and that is how the success of our work will be determined.