Michigan State interim president resigns amid lingering criticism from sexual abuse scandal

Michigan State University interim President John Engler resigned from his post on Wednesday amid backlash to his comments about sexual abuse survivors who were victimized by longtime sports-medicine doctor Larry Nassar.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Engler's decision to resign comes ahead of a Thursday morning meeting that was called to discuss a "personnel action." Multiple reports indicated that university trustees intended to force Engler out if he did not resign.

MSU's board of trustees chairwoman, Dianne Byrum, wrote Wednesday evening on social media that she had received Engler's letter of resignation, and added that she would act on it during Thursday's board meeting.

"This evening I received a letter of resignation from John Engler and this will be discussed and acted upon at the BOT meeting tomorrow morning," Byrum tweeted.

The school's website posted Engler's 11-page resignation letter Wednesday evening, in which the interim president outlines his achievements in office while acknowledging Byrum's request for his resignation. His comments about sexual abuse survivors were not addressed in the letter.

The board of trustees is expected to name Engler's replacement during the Thursday meeting, The Detroit Free Press reported.


Engler sparked controversy last week when he told The Detroit News editorial board that some of the women sexually assaulted by Nassar have "been in the spotlight" and "are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition."

The comments led to widespread outcry from those who were assaulted by Nassar, other sexual assault survivors and university supporters.

Nassar was sentenced roughly a year ago to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting more than 150 young female athletes while working as a doctor for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics. A total of 156 victims testified that they sought treatment from Nassar for sports injuries and were sexually assaulted.

Engler, who served as Michigan governor from 1991 to 2003, was named interim president after Lou Anna Simon stepped down from as the university's leader following Nassar's trial. Simon has since been charged with lying to police in the investigation into Nassar's sexual abuse.

John Bowden contributed to this report, which was updated at 10:40 p.m.