Michigan State aiming to hire new president by June of 2019
In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, Lou Anna Simon resigned from her position as the president of Michigan State University back in late January after serving as the university's president for more than 13 years. Since then, Michigan State hired former Michigan governor John Engler as the university's interim president.
There has been a lot of criticism directed at Michigan State for the way they handled Nassar, the 54-year-old disgraced former physician who worked for both the university and USA Gymnastics, and how they have handled the fallout from the scandal.
After sexually assaulting his patients under the guise of medical treatment for more than two decades, Nassar was finally arrested in December of 2016 before he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on three child pornography charges this past December.
In January, Nassar was then sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges, and in February, he was sentenced to between and additional 40 and 125 years in state prison on three more sexual assault charges.
Engler has faced recent criticism after it was revealed that he made disparaging remarks about Rachael Denhollander in an e-mail that he sent back in mid-April to Carol M. Viventi, the vice president and special counsel to the president.
In this e-mail, Engler accused Denhollander of likely receiving a "kickback" from John Manly, her lawyer and the lawyer for dozens of others who accused Nassar of sexual assault and are filing lawsuits as a result of it.
Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault when she took her story to The Indianapolis Star shortly before they published it in September of 2016, which was three months before Nassar was finally arrested.
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.”
While Engler has since apologized for saying what he said about Denhollander and the Michigan State Board of Trustees voted not to fire him in a 6-2 decision after being pressured to do so by many people, including 137 people who have accused Nassar of sexual assault, Michigan State are still aiming to hire a new president by June of 2019, and understandably so.
Engler is not in the running to be the university's new president according to Brian Breslin, the Chairman of the Michigan State Board of Trustees. Breslin made this clear when he revealed last week that Engler would not be fired for making disparaging marks about Denhollander in his e-mail.
Here is what Breslin had to say about the matter, according to Detroit Free Press.
“John’s apology for the comments contained in an April email that was released last week is appropriate and appreciated by a majority of the Board. The majority of the Board believes Interim President John Engler has played a significant leadership role developing our new approaches and has been a driving force in the rapid rollout of many of these reforms. He will continue to serve as Interim President until a new President is selected. John is not a candidate for the permanent position and has stated repeatedly that he wishes to depart as soon as the new President is chosen.”
Who will Michigan State's new president be? Will that president take over as the university's president by next June? The answers to both of these questions remain to be seen.