John Engler responds to calls for his resignation from Michigan State

  • Michigan State interim president John Engler has responded to calls for his resignation from the university.
Asher Fair
Modified 17 Jun 2018, 11:05 IST

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Michigan State University interim president John Engler has responded to calls made by multiple people, including two Michigan State trustees, for his resignation following the reveal of a disparaging e-mail he sent to Carol M. Viventi, the vice president and special counsel to the president, in April.

That e-mail pertained to one of the more than 300 people who have accused 54-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

In fact, this e-mail pertained to Rachael Denhollander, the woman who was the first person to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault when she took her story to The Indianapolis Star before it was published in September of 2016, which was three months before Nassar was finally arrested after sexually assaulting hundreds of people under the guise of medical treatment for more than two decades.

Nassar was since given three lengthy prison sentences of 60 years in federal prison, between 40 and 175 years in state prison and between 40 and 125 additional years in state prison on three child pornography charges, seven sexual assault charges and three more sexual assault charges, respectively. These three sentences were given to Nassar this past December, January and February, respectively.

In this e-mail, Engler, who replaced former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon when she resigned in the wake of the Nassar scandal in January, claimed that Denhollander was likely receiving a "kickback" from her lawyer, John Manly.

Here is what Engler's e-mail to Viventi said, according to Deadspin.

“It is deeply appreciated. At least we know what really happened. The survivors now are being manipulated by trial lawyers who in the end will each get millions of dollars more than any of (sic) individual survivors with the exception of Denhollander who is likely to get (sic) kickback from Manley (sic) for her role in the trial lawyer manipulation.
“It is too bad we can’t have a debate about who is really trying to help those who were harmed by Nassar. At least, all of the positive changes are beginning to get some modest attention. It will be years before the use and abuse by trial lawyers point is understood. Have a good Sunday. See you Tuesday morning. John.”

Here how trustee Brian Mosallam responded when this e-mail was revealed, according to ABC News.

"He needs to resign immediately. He lacks empathy. He lacks the tone needed to be university president. His comments regarding Rachel Denhollander are unconscionable. He is not fit to lead Michigan State."

Here is how trustee Dianne Byrum responded, according to ABC News.

"He's the wrong leader for Michigan State University. He needs to step down and resign."

Denhollander herself even called for Engler to resign, and she ripped one of his supporters, trustee Dan Kelly, on Twitter as well. Here is what she had to say about Engler, according to ABC News.

"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."

Here is what Kelly had to say, according to Detroit News.

"I don't support asking the president to resign. The university needs some stability."

Here is how Denhollander responded to Kelly's remarks on Twitter.

Here is how Engler to responded to the numerous calls for his resignation, according to ABC News.

"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."

It would appear that Engler, the former Michigan governor, does not plan to resign from his position at Michigan State at this point in time. But then again, it was also speculated that Simon would not resign even just days before she ended up doing so, so the jury is still out on Engler's future at the school.

Published 17 Jun 2018, 11:05 IST
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