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Michigan State names former Gov. John Engler as interim president

Michigan State University's board of trustees named former Gov. John Engler on Wednesday as its interim president fol...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 7:25 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 7:25 PM

Michigan State University's board of trustees named former Gov. John Engler on Wednesday as its interim president following the upheaval over Larry Nassar's decades of abuse.

Engler was chosen "from outside the institution to provide strong leadership during this critical time," according to board Chairman Brian Breslin.

New: Ex-Michigan Gov. John Engler says he wants "to change the culture" at MSU

Engler takes over for Lou Anna Simon, who resigned last week in fall from abuse case

Engler, a longtime Republican politician who was governor from 1991 to 2003, takes over for Lou Anna Simon, who resigned last week.

Michigan State has faced significant criticism for employing Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor, for years, even as he sexually abused young athletes on campus. The former associate professor and team physician at MSU admitted in court that he sexually abused young girls under the guise of providing medical treatment.

Tough questions for Engler

Facing students, faculty and journalists Wednesday, Engler said his main concern as interim president would be to the survivors of sexual abuse.

"We owe it to them to fix the problems and to change the culture so that a better MSU will be their legacy, and that they know something positive came out of their suffering," he said, reading from a statement he said he wished never had had to be written.

Engler said he would move forward as if his own daughters were on campus, to implement changes swiftly and to protect "all Spartans," anyone affiliated with the campus, from sex assault harassment and bullying.

At times the exchanges between Engler and the crowd grew testy.

Dan Martel, president of the Michigan State University Democrats, said he was "sick and tired" of the board of trustees ignoring him. He made a series of requests, including asking for a town hall as soon as possible, and a plan to address shortfalls in transparency at the university. A woman who didn't identify herself other than to say she's a "faculty person," said the board was not soliciting feedback from faculty.

At the end of the press conference, folks in the room chanted, "Shame," repeatedly as Engler and members of the board exited the conference room.

'I was humiliated'

In an Ingham County, Michigan, court over the past two weeks, more than 150 women spoke out about Nassar's two decades of abuse. Several of those victims said they reported his abuse to various Michigan State leaders but their concerns were brushed aside or not taken seriously.

"I told Michigan State University back in 1997," Larissa Boyce said in court. "Instead of being protected, I was humiliated. I was in trouble and brainwashed into believing that I was the problem."

Others have criticized the university and the board of trustees for their response over the past 18 months to the revelations of Nassar's abuse. Last week, MSU trustee Joel Ferguson apologized after he tried to downplay the abuse case by saying there "are so many more things going on at the university than just this Nassar thing."

Simon's resignation letter was similarly criticized for its seeming unwillingness to take responsibility for Nassar's abuse.

"As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable," Simon wrote in her resignation letter. "As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has appointed a special prosecutor to search "every corner" of the university and to understand how Nassar was able to continue terrorizing young women for so long.

Michigan State has denied there was any cover-up of the abuse and has apologized to all those affected by their failure to stop Nassar.

"To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment," Simon said.

"I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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