“NO CONFIDENCE” – Faculty says MSU Trustees need to go

Professors at Michigan State University say the Board of Trustees needs to go.

The Faculty Senate at MSU held a special meeting Tuesday in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal. By a vote of 61-4, the group said it had “no confidence” in the trustees.

The vote is symbolic and non-binding. Trustees to the board of MSU are elected by the public and serve 8 year terms.

Nassar, a former MSU doctor, has been accused by more than 250 women and girls of sexually assaulting them under the guise of treatment over the course of a 20 year career. A substantial number of those victims say the abuse took place at Michigan State.

The university has been criticized for its handling of the situation. Officials say they didn’t know anything except for a lone 2014 complaint until the media broke the story at the end of 2016. But numerous victims say they reported the abuse to MSU, which failed to act.

The Board of Trustees has been criticized for backing former president Lou Anna Simon even after public opinion overwhelmingly swayed against her. The board even stood by Simon after an unprecedented, though non-binding, vote of “no confidence” by the Michigan House of Representatives.

One trustee, Joel Ferguson, was subsequently criticized for talking about all of the good things that happened at MSU under Simon’s leadership besides “this Nassar thing.” Ferguson, through a spokesperson, subsequently apologized.

The board has also been criticized for its unanimous appointment of former Michigan Governor John Engler as the interim president of the university. Engler, a Spartan alum, has ruffled feathers because of his political background. Some faculty members have said they’re upset about the pick because they were not consulted about it and because Engler lacks an academic background.

No trustees have resigned in the wake of the scandal, but two of them: Chairman Brian Breslin and Mitch Lyons have said they don’t plan to run for re-election when their terms expire. The election for their seats will take place in November and their replacements will join the board on January 1, 2019.