Engler came under criticism last week for alluding that Larry Nassar survivors are "enjoying" the "spotlight." 

By Emily Caron
January 16, 2019

Michigan State University's interim president John Engler will reportedly resign before the University's Board of Trustees meets at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning in a special meeting where the Board was going to fire Engler, had he not resigned, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Engler took over last January for Lou Anna Simon after she resigned amid heavy criticism of her handling of the Larry Nassar scandal. Simon now faces criminal charges for lying to the police during their investigation.

The Board had reportedly asked Engler to resign before Thursday morning, per reports.

"John Engler's reign of terror is over," board member Brian Mosallam said, according to the Free Press. "Michigan State University will be returned to its people."

Much of Engler's one-year tenure has involved fallout from the Nassar scandal and heavy criticism from survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse. Engler survived a motion to fire him in the summer, but the 70-year-old former governor has met continued of backlash for his comments since.

"The university can no longer move forward with him at the helm," Mosallam added to ESPN's Dan Murphy.

Engler also came under fire after telling the Detroit News last week that Nassar survivors were "enjoying" the spotlight.

"You’ve got people, they are hanging on and this has been … there are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven’t been in the spotlight," Engler said. "In some ways, they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it’s ending. It’s almost done.”

Engler also added that he does not support another investigation into Michigan State's handling of the sexual abuse claims related to Nassar, saying officials are "trying to go back to work" despite calls from victims and others for more scrutiny to bring resolution and accountability.

Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, criticized Engler's most recent remarks.

"Engler references survivors enjoying their time in the spotlight," Denhollander tweeted. "You mean, like having to change the day I grocery shop so my 3 kids don't see a photo of their mom demonstrating what was done to her body? Tell me more about how enjoyable this spotlight is."

Last year, Engler also accused Denhollander of getting “kickbacks” from lawyers for encouraging other women to speak up about Nassar’s abuse.

Dianne Y. Byrum, elected chairwoman of the university’s Board of Trustees this week, criticized Engler’s comments in a message on Saturday to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“His remarks were ill advised and not helpful to the healing process, survivors, or the university,” Byrum, a former Democratic lawmaker, said in a direct message on Twitter to The Chronicle.

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