A coalition of proponents for change at Michigan State University will hold a “Rally for Resignations” on Friday amid continued scrutiny over how Interim President John Engler and the Board of Trustees are addressing campus sexual assault in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.
Two groups – MeToo MSU and Reclaim MSU – as well as Nassar sex abuse survivor Morgan McCaul, will rally against Engler’s and the MSU Board’s inability to enact meaningful change at the university to address campus sexual assaults and urge them to resign their posts.
“It’s time for Michigan State to clean house. The rally this Friday will be a way to display our community’s outrage and demonstrate to the Board we will not rest until those who should be held accountable are,” said Natalie Rogers, spokesperson for Reclaim MSU.
Indeed, it seems since Engler’s interim appointment by the Board, the Republican former governor of Michigan has made tumble after tumble in terms of sensitivity on the pervasive issue of sexual assault at MSU, which has catapulted the university into the national limelight. He has told faculty his primary interest is to resolve ongoing lawsuits against the university rather than institute any cultural change, and he most recently was criticized for allegedly attempting to buy off a sexual assault survivor who met with him.
“Interim President Engler has proven that he is incapable of guiding MSU through our current crisis. He has stuck to a combative legal approach, fighting sexual assault survivors,” Reclaim MSU said in a statement regarding the board meeting in which the alleged payoff conversation was revealed to the public. “Engler must resign immediately. If he does not, the Board of Trustees must fire him.”
Part of what Rogers’ group advocates for is the addition of faculty and students to the MSU Board of Trustees.
“The Board has proved time and again they are unfit to lead this university and unwilling to appoint leaders who have the best interest of the Spartan community in heart and in mind,” Rogers said in a statement. “In Engler’s short time here, he has managed to revictimize survivors by blaming them for increases in tuition and, now, attempting to bribe them into settling the civil litigation. This is unacceptable and not the type of leadership we deserve.”
She continued, “Those at the top who have perpetuated the culture of violence and silence here at MSU cannot be the ones tasked with fostering a culture of safety and inclusion. This is why we are first asking the Board and Engler to resign, but also demanding that, before they go, they adopt our proposed bylaw changes to ensure that power is placed in the hands of students and faculty in both the presidential search and in day-to-day governance.”
The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Hannah Administration Building.