Michigan State Interim President John Engler submitted a letter of resignation on Wednesday after remarks he made about victims of Larry Nassar.
Brian Mosallam, a member of MSU’s Board of Trustees, says the board had enough votes to force Engler out if he did not resign on his own accord.
Reclaim MSU, an alliance of students, staff, and faculty working toward cultural change on campus, initiated a petition to fire Engler as well. As of Wednesday, they had over 1,800 signatures from the community.
The former governor was brought in to help the university recover from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Instead, he has received much criticism about comments he made about the victims of Nassar, reports Click on Detroit.
Last week, Engler told The Detroit News that Nassar’s victims had been in the “spotlight” and are “still enjoying that moment at time, you know, the awards and recognition.”
The board’s chairwoman Dianne Byrum publicly apologized for Engler’s comments.
“To the survivors, the entire Board of Trustees extends our remorse over the regretful comments Engler has made,” she said. “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.”
The university fired Nassar in 2016, two years after he was being investigated for sexual assault.
Engler, however, defends his time as interim president, saying MSU has improved over the last year with his help, reports The State News.
“I am proud to have a key role in preparing my school to welcome a new President who will have the opportunity to take us to new heights,” he said.
The Board of Trustees named Dr. Satish Upda, the former Dean of Engineering at MSU, to be the new interim president. They will announce a permanent president in June.
“The MSU Board of Trustees now has an opportunity to build a new foundation that will provide this university with a clean slate and a brighter future,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The new president should be someone who will begin the healing process and restore trust between survivors, students, alumni and the administration.”
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