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Following trustees' work session, Gupta supporters speak out at board meeting

December 16, 2022
<p>Former Broad Business College Dean Sanjay Gupta during the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 at the Hannah Administration Building. </p>

Former Broad Business College Dean Sanjay Gupta during the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 at the Hannah Administration Building.

Former business school dean Sanjay Gupta attended the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 16 accompanied by a group of supporters, including faculty, alumni and students of the business school.

Gupta was asked to resign following a mandatory reporting failure. In late August, the board hired outside legal counsel to review his resignation. However, there has been confusion and controversy within the board.

Board chair Dianne Byrum said the law firm investigating Gupta, Quinn Emanuel, appeared at the trustees' work session yesterday, holding a verbal preliminary review meeting. The firm has not completed its work, so progress in the investigation was not able to be shared. Byrum was unable to share where the board has been with the investigation.

“The board is being transparent in that we are making it known that we are doing the investigation,” Byrum said. “What I can tell you is that each and every one of the trustees take the responsibility very seriously and they try to make decisions that are in the best interest of the whole university.”

Six Gupta supporters spoke to the board during the public comment section of the meeting.

Shawnee Vickery, Broad College faculty member, read a letter from a group of Broad College professors demanding that the board release the findings of the Quinn Emanuel investigation.

“I might note that there were a lot of promises today of transparency and trust,” Vickery said. “Releasing the report would be consistent with the trend toward greater transparency among university boards.”

Vickery said releasing the findings “will demonstrate the board's understanding of the need for transparency and therefore demonstrate that the board can successfully steer MSU through this difficult time.”

Finance senior Blake Maday spoke on behalf of Broad Student Senate, reading a letter from the organization.

This is the third open letter from Broad’s student senate to the board on the Gupta matter. A Sept. 2 letter criticized the board for Gupta’s removal and voiced frustration that students learned of it in the press. A Dec. 13 letter demanded that the results of the Quinn Emanuel investigation be released publicly, and criticized the board’s secrecy. The Dec. 16 letter read at the meeting reiterated the previous concerns, and criticized the board for not responding to the previous communications.

Speakers representing the Broad Colleges’ alumni and advisory board also spoke. A throughline in the speeches was that Gupta’s removal would discourage potential and current donors to the university.

“I don't know too many faculty, students, donors or alumni who would choose to support a university's unethical behavior, '' donor and Broad alumnus Nancy Vella said.

One of the letters read was from Edward Minskoff, one of MSU's largest donors in history who funded the completion of the Broad College's Business Pavilion with $30 million. Minskoff criticized Gupta's removal.

“We don't need lip service about transparency, we need forthright action," Vella said. "As a longtime supporter of the College of Business, I will no longer support the college and university unless the aforementioned matters are resolved. Although I am only one person, don't underestimate the power of the College of Business alumni. As business leaders, we will not stand idle.”

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