Monday, June 1, 2020

Petition for Engler's termination reaches over 1,000 signatures

June 21, 2018
Comparative cultures and politics sophomore Natalie Rogers points towards Interim President John Engler as she disrupts the Board of Trustees meeting and addresses the board on Feb. 16, 2018 at the Hannah Administration Building. (Nic Antaya | The State News)
Comparative cultures and politics sophomore Natalie Rogers points towards Interim President John Engler as she disrupts the Board of Trustees meeting and addresses the board on Feb. 16, 2018 at the Hannah Administration Building. (Nic Antaya | The State News) —

A petition created by student and faculty group Reclaim MSU that calls for the Board of Trustees to terminate Interim President John Engler has reached over 1,000 signatures.

The petition has been signed by students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the MSU community in light of several calls for his resignation, according to a Thursday press release. Multiple calls for Engler's termination came after comments he made about survivors of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse. 

The petition, which is on Change.org, has a goal of 1,500 signatures. 

Reclaim MSU, a group formed in response to the "university administration's failure to protect and support survivors on campus," plans on presenting the petition at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, according to the release.

A Solidarity for Survivors rally organized by the group and by survivor Morgan McCaul will take place during the board meeting. The group plans to take a list of demands to the board on Friday.

The list of demands includes:

  • The termination of John Engler as interim president of MSU by the Board of Trustees.
  • The denouncement of the appointment of Robert Young Jr. to the office of the Vice President and General Counsel of MSU.
  • The termination of Carol Viventi as vice president and special counsel to the president.
  • The termination of all others appointed by the current administration.
  • The immediate termination of any MSU employee who knew or should have known about the abuse of students, faculty, or patients on campus and did not take action.
  • The reopening of Amanda Thomashow's 2014 Title IX investigation by the MSU Office of Institutional Equity.
  • The MSU Board of Trustees adopt and enforce Reclaim MSU's bylaw changes and policy proposals.

The meeting itself serves as the only meeting of the summer before the 2018-2019 school year. It will be the first time the board and Engler have made a public appearance together after Trustee Brian Mosallam and Trustee Dianne Byrum's calls for Engler to resign from his position at the university.

Several demands for Engler's removal came after emails were released in a Chronicle of Higher Education report. In the emails, Engler accused survivor Rachael Denhollander of getting "kickbacks" from her lawyers for her role in the "manipulation" of other survivors.

So far, 133 survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse, Reclaim MSU, Mosallam, Byrum and Michigan legislators have called for Engler's termination.

The 1,000+ signatures on Reclaim MSU's petition have also been added to the list of those demanding the Board of Trustees to fire Engler from his position. 

"It's time for Engler to be fired," Natalie Rogers, Reclaim MSU organizer, said in the press release. "The board brought Engler in to lead MSU despite overwhelming opposition from students, staff, and faculty of MSU. They are responsible for all of the damage he continues to do to MSU and now they are responsible for putting a stop to it by terminating his contract.

"Over 1,000 MSU community members have formally demanded that the Board do something. As public officials, they have a responsibility to listen to us."

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