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The timeline of controversy leading up to Stanley's resignation

October 14, 2022
<p>Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley commenting on research presentation. The Michigan State University Board of Trustees met in the Hannah Administration Building on April 22, 2022.</p>

Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley commenting on research presentation. The Michigan State University Board of Trustees met in the Hannah Administration Building on April 22, 2022.

Photo by Jared Osborne | The State News

Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced his resignation from Michigan State on Thursday. Leading up to that was over a month of controversy surrounding discussion of his contract.

The State News has broken down the timeline of events that led to Stanley leaving the university.

Aug. 12

Eli Broad College of Business dean Sanjay Gupta resigns due to a mandatory reporting failure.

Aug. 30

The MSU Board of Trustees hired outside legal counsel to investigate Gupta’s removal. University spokesperson Dan Olsen said Gupta did resign, but the provost thought the leadership transition was necessary. Stanley released a statement in support of the provost.

Sept. 9

The Board of Trustees held its first fall meeting of the semester. There, the trustees appointed an interim dean to take Gupta’s place after discussion and disapproval of his removal from trustees Dan Kelly and Pat O’Keefe. 

Sept. 11

A report from the Detroit Free Press claims that the board had asked Stanley to resign. It was confirmed by university spokesperson Emily Guerrant that his contract was under discussion.

Following this news, various student groups and faculty demanded transparency from the board

Sept. 13

The faculty senate held a special meeting where Stanley made his first remarks. He said he was not surprised by the controversy over Gupta and concerns related to Title IX. 

At this meeting, trustee Rema Vassar said Stanley’s retirement was supported by “the whole board,” except for chair Dianne Byrum. 

At the heart of the issue with Stanley laid the Title IX compliance: a yearly procedure in which the president and at least one trustee are required to review all of the university’s Title IX reports. Stanley said at this meeting that, in June, he learned some trustees did not do their part in the 2021 certification.

Some trustees, however, blamed Stanley for the failure. He defended himself, saying the fault lies with the trustees

The faculty senate passed a resolution urging the board for more transparency in this process and a resolution asking the board to participate in professional development. Both were passed in concurrence by the Associated Students for MSU, or ASMSU, later that week. 

Sept. 19

Ninety-four distinguished professors released a letter to the board backing Stanley. They said he improved the campus culture and made campus a “safer, more productive space.”

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Sept. 30

Stanley certified the 2022 Title IX report. The Board of Trustees said Stanley re-certified the contested 2021 Title IX documents after the trustees reviewed the reports. 

The board also released the results of an audit about what exactly went wrong with the 2021 certification: inconsistent instruction about the process.

Oct. 5

The outside legal counsel, hired by the board to investigate Gupta, was criticized by Provost Teresa Woodruff and Stanley. The law firm asked MSU faculty, executive administrators and internal legal counsel for help in its investigation.

In a letter, Woodruff told the board to “halt the manner of its investigation” because Gupta’s mandatory reporting failure was not in dispute, and she did not want this investigation to interfere with the current Title IX office’s investigation in his case.

Oct. 6

ASMSU declared a vote of no confidence in the Board of Trustees, and a similar vote is declared by the faculty senate days later. 

Oct. 13

Stanley announced his resignation to the MSU community in a video message. He, too, had lost confidence in the Board of Trustees. His resignation will become effective 90 days from that date: Jan. 11, 2023. 

The board released a statement in response to his resignation, commending his leadership over the past three years. 

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