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Engler responds to MSU settling Nassar survivor lawsuits in letter to community

May 17, 2018
<p>Interim President John Engler looks down during the Board of Trustees meeting on April 13, 2018 at Hannah Administration Building. (C.J. Weiss | The State News)</p>

Interim President John Engler looks down during the Board of Trustees meeting on April 13, 2018 at Hannah Administration Building. (C.J. Weiss | The State News)

A day after MSU settled the hundreds of lawsuits filed against the university by the survivors of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's abuse, Interim President John Engler issued a letter to the MSU community in response.

The letter covered his thoughts on what MSU is doing to improve its handling of sexual assault and misconduct, what the settlement means for the MSU community and the survivors and how the university will carry out its "responsibilities required by the settlement."

In the letter, Engler said MSU has "apologized, expressed regret, and pledged to act so that such abuse could never happen again," but settling the lawsuits was the best answer to allow the survivors to move forward. 

"We have known that for the healing process to really begin, it would require more than apologies and reforms in our clinics," Engler said in the letter. "For the survivors and their families and for the university to truly move forward, we would have to resolve the litigation that resulted from the Nassar crimes."

Engler also said he will be working with the Board of Trustees to develop a strategy in order to ensure the university can pay for the $500 million settlement. 

He previously stated tuition could be raised due to the litigation at a hearing of the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee in March.

However, after a meeting with the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, Engler told The State News tuition might not be affected by the lawsuits.

In the letter, Engler said the settlement will allow MSU to continue making changes to prevent sexual assault and misconduct on and off campus. 

"These changes include increased staffing for sexual assault prevention, reporting, and counseling offices, new awareness training for students and employees, and stronger oversight of campus youth programs," he said in the letter. "We are taking steps to more fully engage the entire campus community in awareness and prevention activities and to improve communication across the board."

Engler also mentioned that he deeply regrets the injury caused to many young women and girls on MSU's part.

"For that, I, and every leader on this campus, apologize, but more important, we offer the comprehensive actions being taken as proof we are serious about changing MSU," he said in the letter. "I’m proud of how Spartans have been working together in support of these changes to foster a safer campus."

Read Engler's full letter below.

Letter from Interim President Engler regarding settlement

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