EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — A Michigan State University trustee says the board will seek to oust interim school President John Engler if he doesn't resign amid criticism of his handling of the fallout around disgraced ex-sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar.
Brian Mosallam told The Associated Press Wednesday that if Engler "doesn't resign, we are going to vote to remove him."
Mosallam, a Democrat, also said he believes "the votes are there" to get rid of Engler. The board will hold a special meeting Thursday in East Lansing.
MSU Board Chair Dianne Byrum tweeted trustees will address a "personnel matter" during the 8 a.m. meeting Thursday. MSU Trustee Brian Mosallam responded by tweeting "JOHN ENGLER'S REIGN OF TERROR IS OVER."
JOHN ENGLER’S REIGN OF TERROR IS OVER.Dianne Byrum@DianneByrum
There will be an MSU BOT meeting tomorrow at 8 a.m. An agenda will be posted. There will be one agenda item on personnel matters. #MSUBOT39110:41 AM - Jan 16, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy
The personnel matter Byrum referred to is believed to be statements Engler made to The Detroit News editorial board last week.
One of the statements generating backlash alluded to survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse enjoying public attention:
"You’ve got people, they are hanging on and this has been … there are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven’t been in the spotlight," Engler told The Detroit News Friday. "In some ways, they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it’s ending. It’s almost done.”
Engler's statements were met by outrage on social media and added to concerns that his presence as interim president only hurts MSU, despite efforts to create positive change on campus.
Efforts to oust Engler in June failed. In a July interview with 24 Hour News 8, Engler defended himself as the best person to lead MSU while the search for a permanent president continues. A new leader will be announced this summer, according to the university's timeline.
Thursday’s special meeting was not listed on the university's website as of 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. 24 Hour News 8 has reached out to trustees and the university for clarification on what's expected at the meeting.
The next regularly scheduled trustees meeting is Feb. 15.