EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Michigan governor has been named Michigan State University’s interim president Wednesday.
During a board of trustees meeting, 69-year-old John Engler was appointed Michigan State’s interim president. He will lead the university following last week’s resignation of Lou Ann K. Simon.
“As the father of three daughters who just completed their undergraduate degrees, I put myself in the place of every parent who has sent their loved one to this great institution,” Engler said in a Wednesday news release from MSU. “I understand the concern and uncertainty as well as the frustration and anger. To those parents, be assured that I will move forward as if my own daughters were on this campus and will treat every student as I would my own daughters.”
Engler, a Republican, served as Michigan’s governor from 1991 to 2003. He’s also a Michigan State alum.
A faculty representative said many members don’t support the appointment of Engler as interim president. She said that faculty members made their opposition clear to the board and learned that the appointment was going forward from media reports.
“We have issues with both the selection itself and the selection process,” the faculty representative said. She went on to ask for a vote of no confidence and immediate resignation of the entire board.
Several student liaisons spoke during the meeting, agreeing with faculty that Engler was not the right choice for interim president.
A few protesters interrupted the meeting. One protester sat on the board table where trustees were seated to voice his opposition to the appointment of Engler.
Some students repeatedly shouted “shame” as Engler wrapped up a news conference where he answered questions about his plan for MSU.
“Mark my words, change is coming,” Engler said.
The Board of Trustees’ appointment happened on the same day as Larry Nassar’s final sentencing hearing.
Over the next several days, Nassar will hear from roughly 60 people who want to confront him. The case in Eaton County centers on his assaults at Twistars, a gymnastics club near Lansing.
Nassar, a former sports doctor who sexually abused his patients under the guise of medical care, was sentenced last week to 40 years to 175 years in prison, which will run consecutively with his 60-year sentence for federal child pornography charges.
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