OT: MSU Interim President Engler Statement RE: Nassar and others

Submitted by wolverinestuckinEL on February 13th, 2018 at 4:06 PM

Instead of clipping certain portions I decided to post the letter to the MSU community in full.  


To the MSU campus community:

On this second day of my second week as interim president, I think it is important to address several matters many of you have raised with me.

Everyone knows the Nassar case is an international story. As he begins serving his sentence in a federal prison in Arizona, we are all still struggling to comprehend the extent of the damage he inflicted on so many girls and young women, and on their families.

Questions about how this could have happened and what must be done to prevent it from ever happening again are the subject of multiple inquiries. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education is conducting a Clery program review, the U.S. Senate has requested information, and the U.S. House of Representatives has two inquiries underway. The NCAA also is seeking information from us. In Michigan, the House of Representatives is requesting production of documents and the Attorney General’s Office, at MSU’s request, is conducting an investigation.

Add to these an accreditation agency inquiry and an ongoing blizzard of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and the volume of compliance deadlines Michigan State University faces is daunting. Last week alone, we turned over data equivalent to some 45,000 pages of documents, emails, and other materials to William Forsyth, the independent special counsel who is heading the investigation for the Attorney General’s Office.

MSU is committed to cooperating with all official requests, and I’m grateful for the cooperation that faculty and staff have given the General Counsel’s office and the law firms that are assisting the university.

While the investigations are ongoing, activity in lawsuits representing well over 100 survivors continues to move forward. I’m following the progress closely as we work to return to mediation and, I fervently hope, a just resolution that helps the survivors bring some closure to this horrific chapter in their lives. Michigan State, too, needs to heal and to emerge a stronger institution, one where safety, respect, and civility are hallmarks.

That is not a new expectation. The University Policy on Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct states from the outset: “Michigan State University is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff that is fair, humane, and responsible—an environment that supports career and educational advancement on the basis of job and academic performance…. Relationship violence, stalking, and sexual misconduct are not tolerated at Michigan State University.”

It is a privilege to call ourselves Spartans, one that carries a responsibility to adhere to standards of behavior, on campus and off, that should be well understood by all.

We know from Title IX reports that a large proportion of our sexual assaults happen on campus, that all too often those involved are familiar with each other, and that alcohol consumption is often involved. We can do better with our campus relationship climate, and I’ll continue reaching out to people and groups in the days ahead for advice and suggestions that can move us toward the kind of campus we all want to be associated with.

Finally, I viewed with great concern a recent ESPN report that gathered considerable national attention in no small part because it showed a promotional graphic of our head football and men’s basketball coaches with Larry Nassar. This was a sensationalized package of reporting that contained allegations and insinuations that we are now reviewing. The coaches were asked to refrain from comment while the reports were examined. That has been a burden that must be lifted. I hope that MSU can soon respond in full and affirm the integrity and probity that has been the hallmark of these two respected coaches.

It isn’t easy to live under a microscope. I’m proud of how so many members of the Spartan community have expressed concern for the survivors in so many ways. I’m pleased—but frankly not surprised—by the willingness of so many to commence the hard work of making real change in order to achieve an environment that truly is fair, humane, and responsible. To that I would add safe and civil.

I’m fully aware that there is a lot of work to do and not much time to do it. I appreciate your support as we together address the urgent tasks in front of us. Because this is how Spartans show their will.




February 13th, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

Beginning was boilerplate legalese.  Last part was a rallying cry that they will defend football and basketball to the bitter end.  Lots of nice words but actions will matter more.

Master book by J. Heller there.  One of my favorite reads.


February 14th, 2018 at 7:36 AM ^

Engler's statement was posted on Twitter last night by none other than (wait for it) Scott Paterno.  He said he wished Penn State had had Engler as President when the PSU "incident" occured.  I couldn't believe my eyes, and neither could anyone else.  It blew up into a Twitter war to which Paterno responded to many until he was totally overwhelmed.  His biggest complaint against the venom he was getting?  You must be UM fans.  What a clueless asshat.


February 13th, 2018 at 8:09 PM ^

Of course it is ESPNs fault for sensationalizing (read reporting) on a cultural collapse that is found throughout a program with coaches who have supported a culture of violence against women by coaches and players...from the gymnastics, football and basketball programs.

God forbid they stop and consider that this inbred lack of oversight and care and concern should have anyone outside of the prosecutors who have been hired into their Title IX program office to shine a light and openly discuss the obvious issues that have been rumoured and understood for years within the state.

Now that they are national news, it is sensational....hypocritical BS statement that really amounts to the fact that we want to move all of these lawsuits to mediation to settle at the lowest cost possible to the school and protect the hell out of a football and basketball program that are the pinnacle of success in east lansing.


February 13th, 2018 at 5:53 PM ^

From what I have heard, MSU has spent the better part of the last few years blocking ESPN's FOIA request, looking into the football and basketball programs handeling of sexual assult. They have spent the last two years in court. If MSU did what they are supposed to do under the FOIA, the information about Mark and Tom may have been released much sooner than the Nassar disgrace.

I Like Burgers

February 13th, 2018 at 10:39 PM ^

ESPN started looking into Izzo and Dantonio and the elements of that story back around 2014 I think -- maybe even earlier.  FAR before Nassar was even a story (the IndyStar story came out in the summer of 2016 during the middle of the Olympics).  But MSU sued and delayed and sued and delayed again.  The lawsuits weren't resolved until around this September, and even then MSU still had to turn over the documents and ESPN still had to finish their reporting and conduct interviews and followup interviews.  Just editting the video for a story like that (not to mention the written story) is typically a multi-week process, and potentially even longer for a bombshell story like that.

By then, the Nassar story was in full swing which changed the scope of the original story from "MSU covers up football and basketball rapes" to "MSU covers up every damn thing under the sun."

So Sparty can bitch all they want that ESPN tied the Dantonio/Izzo parts of the story to the Nassar story, but by the time ESPN was actually allowed to finish their reporting, the two stories were tied together.

Sierra Steve

February 14th, 2018 at 1:31 PM ^

The reason MSU fought so hard against the FOIA requests was so that students that were not charged with crimes would not have their reputations damaged.  Which is exactly what ended up happening.

ESPN and the very same author wrote the original artice back in 2015 and MSU was only mentioned as an example of a school where athletes did not get preferential treatment from law enforcement.





Hold This L

February 14th, 2018 at 4:42 PM ^

I'll admit i didn't read the whole thing but it didn't seem like she was defending sparty. She literally says the universities make sure that no charges are brought unless there is too much working against them.That people in the athletic department would do everything in their power to make sure nothing got out. They even needed to add a footnote that the Law Enforcement in EL had redacted much of the information so they have no clue how high the number of athletes accused of crimes is. 

She did say that almsot all of the students are afforded legal counsel but that's not to say the athletic department wasn't influencing the cases involving athletes.


Just Hold the L


February 13th, 2018 at 6:45 PM ^

Few things that should be clarified here. I'm fairly certain I've heard / read the following:

1) MSU was not targeted by ESPN. ESPN has been FOIA-ing multiple schools for several years in an effort to get more data on these types of issues. It just so happens that MSU turned out to have a lot of issues when they started digging

2) The final story may have been timed up with Nassar in the end, but by most accounts it would have been released a long time ago if MSU had been forthcoming with the documents initially and hadn't slowed the process by stonewalling and (I think) suing ESPN over the documents request


February 14th, 2018 at 9:05 AM ^

What I find interesting is how so many have said that ESPN sat on this story for the longest time waiting for an opportunity to hammer MSU with maximum impact (and eyeballs on screens).

However, I've been hearing for well over a year on NPR and other news outlets how ESPN has had to take significant legal action against MSU to provide the information requested in the FOIA requests. If ESPN sat on this story, it was not that much time. And if the story coincides with MSUs egregious mishandling of the Larry Nassar incident, then so be it.



February 13th, 2018 at 4:15 PM ^

MSU has no institutional control and allowed rampant assault in one form or another on that campus, INCLUDING football and basketball under the watchful eyes of Izzo and Dantonio.

I hope they get what they deserve, bc we all know the NCAA won't do anything if MSU continues to deny their role.

Image result for tire fire gif


February 13th, 2018 at 4:15 PM ^

I'd repeat that I can't believe they hired Engler to be interim president, but it's this MSU temporarily led by this BoT, so there's no sense disbelieving - let alone repeating - that.