Local Legislators Respond to Engler Resignation

Resigns from interim post following demeaning comments regarding sexual assault survivors
Thursday, January 17, 2019

LANSING — This morning, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of Interim President John Engler, coming after his most recent comments regarding survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse. The board has since named MSU’s Executive Vice President for Administrative Services, Satish Upda, the new interim president.

 “It was clear from the very beginning he was not the right person for the job,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township). “After the tragedy endured by Nassar’s survivors, Michigan State needed a leader who could begin correcting course — cultivating an environment of compassion and support. Instead, the man they appointed decided to make light of the situation only serving to hinder the healing the survivors and the campus so badly needed.”    

This was not the first time during his controversial tenure Engler publically made insensitive and irresponsible comments about assault survivors.

“Although this decision should have been made quite some time ago, I am glad that the Board of Trustees finally took action,” state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) said. “Engler’s failure undoubtedly caused additional trauma for the brave women and girls fighting to see real change after what Nassar did to them. His resignation should represent the close of this dark chapter for MSU, and the start of real, meaningful action on the school’s part not only to rectify these wrongs, but to ensure this kind of thing never happens again.”

“The crimes Larry Nassar committed were truly unspeakable, and we only know about them now thanks to the bravery and determination of the women who came forward,” said state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). “MSU had a responsibility after what happened to make listening to survivors and holding perpetrators accountable their top priority. Instead they hired someone to lead the school whose tenure was marked by profound insensitivity. It’s time now for a leader who is focused on the future, and repairing the fractured pieces of our community in a way that supports survivors, prioritizes healing and focuses on prevention.”

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