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Michigan figures at all levels weigh in on President Stanley's resignation

October 13, 2022
<p>Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks in support of abortion rights. Supporters of abortion rights gathered at the Capitol on June 24, 2022, after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.</p>

Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks in support of abortion rights. Supporters of abortion rights gathered at the Capitol on June 24, 2022, after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Political figures at all levels weighed in on Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.'s resignation following a video announcement emailed to the MSU community this morning, in which Stanley provided a 90-day notice of resignation citing a loss of confidence in the MSU Board of Trustees.

At a campaign event today, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she found Stanley to be good to work with and a great partner for the state.

"I care, first and foremost, about the university. The university is an important part of our economy, an important part of our state," Whitmer said. "They're going to need to have great leadership. I thought they had great leadership ... I'll be watching very closely. I'm concerned about it."

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who represents East Lansing in the U.S House of Representatives, took to Twitter to express her support for Stanley in the wake of his resignation.

"He has been an excellent partner to my office and a steadfast advocate for MSU's students, the East Lansing community and our entire state," Slotkin wrote.

She also urged the board to show leadership in their search for an interim president.

"The responsibility now falls to the board to show real leadership and to choose an interim president with the experience and management skills to make this transition as seamless as possible," Slotkin wrote. "The student body, faculty, alumni and the state of Michigan deserve nothing less."

Slotkin's opponent in the upcoming midterm elections, Michigan State Sen. Tom Barrett, showed similar sentiments towards the board's actions in an email to The State News.

"The students at MSU have been betrayed by feckless leadership the last several years," Barrett's campaign wrote. "It's become an embarrassment and the finger-pointing and infighting need to end and responsible leaders at the school to step up and lead."

Michigan State Rep. Julie Brixie, who represents East Lansing in the Michigan House of Representatives, called the board's actions "shocking and deeply disturbing" in a statement Friday.

"He provided stable, transparent, responsible leadership when the university needed it most," Brixie said. "His departure is a significant loss for our community. I have lost all faith in the trustees who have had a role in this gross misconduct."

In addition, East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon said the chain of events leading to Stanley's resignation was regrettable. However, he appreciated the working relationship between the City of East Lansing and MSU that the president fostered.

"It's important that East Lansing and Michigan State are incredibly linked together, and I just really want to see us find some firm footing on solid ground to land on here, to hopefully come up with a better outcome for whatever takes place next ... to just continue that great partnership and continue to move things forward," Bacon said.

Bacon also said the relationship between the city and MSU improved under Stanley with cooperation on public health, public safety and support for elections.

"I hope we can, under whatever leadership or how they move forward, we continue to advance that relationship and we don't lose ground in that area," he said.

Regarding the impact of Stanley's resignation and subsequent loss of confidence in the Board on the upcoming election, Bacon said people will be looking for stability and cooperation from trustee candidates.

"I think it does cloud the trustees' election, and I'm sure each of the candidates will have to address this when asked, 'How do they plan to stabilize the situation?'," Bacon said. "It's a very difficult thing to put under a month to go, inject into an election process."

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