Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Trustee Schlichting resigns, cites MSU's failure to move forward with Nassar investigation

October 28, 2019
MSU trustee Nancy Schlichting speaks about her experiences as a member of the LGBTQ community at the MSU Union on April 10, 2019.
MSU trustee Nancy Schlichting speaks about her experiences as a member of the LGBTQ community at the MSU Union on April 10, 2019. —
Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Michigan State University Trustee Nancy Schlichting resigned from the Board of Trustees as a result of the university's failure to move forward on an independent investigation into Larry Nassar's abuse.

In a resignation letter sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over the weekend, Schlichting wrote she could no longer serve on the board because of the recent decision "to not go forward with the independent review/public report," according to her letter.

"During the last year ... it has become very clear to me that my commitment to have an independent review of the Nassar situation, and to waive privilege so the truth can come out, is not shared by the MSU Board Chair, legacy Board members, and some newer trustees," she wrote.

During a June meeting, the board announced the law firm McDermott, Will and Emery would conduct the independent investigation into the university's handling of reports of Nassar's sexual abuse. It was initiated by Trustees Dan Kelly, Kelly Tebay, Brian Mosallam and Schlichting, and the results were going to be made public.

However, during the first Board of Trustees meeting of the 2019-20 academic year, Board Chairperson Dianne Byrum said the investigation would not move forward due to a split vote among trustees, according to the Detroit News.

"I deeply regret that my board service has been so short, but hope that the next appointed trustee will be able to make a greater impact than I have," Schlichting wrote in her resignation letter.

In a statement, Byrum said Schlichting was appointed during a difficult transitional period for the university.

“I’m grateful that she took on the role and helped us with the challenges we are facing," Byrum said in the statement.

Schlichting — the former CEO of the Henry Ford Health System — was appointed to the board in December by former Governor Rick Snyder. She replaced former Trustee George Perles, who resigned due to health complications. 

Whitmer will appoint a new trustee to take Schlichting's place. The seat was formerly held by George Perles, who resigned in 2018 due to health reasons. The position will be up for statewide election in 2022.

“Nancy brought tremendous experience managing large organizations to her role on the MSU Board of Trustees,” MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement. “I’m sorry that she is stepping down, but I wish her much personal success and happiness with her other projects. We valued her insight and contributions while she was with us.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement that she respects Schlichting's decision to step down.

“I hope Gov. Whitmer appoints someone committed to transparency, which includes waiving privilege on the nearly 6,000 documents our department has yet to see so that we may complete our comprehensive investigation," Nessel said in the statement.

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