MSU Trustees chair says panel humbled by no-confidence vote

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) A no-confidence vote in the Michigan State University Board of Trustees by the Faculty Senate in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal is ”humbling,” the chairman of the trustees said Friday at its first public meeting since the vote.

The Faculty Senate voted 61-4 Tuesday to express no confidence in the board, but Chair Brian Breslin said he believed that could be overcome.

”There’s no denying these are pretty somber times for Michigan State University, and the no-confidence votes that took place this week were humbling, to say the least,” Breslin said.

”I do believe what trust you don’t have in us, what confidence you don’t have in us, can be restored,” he said.

Members of the faculty have been outraged with the board’s handling of the Nassar scandal and the recent hiring of former Michigan Gov. John Engler as interim president.

Close to a dozen protesters held signs and at times interrupted the board during the meeting lasting more than two hours.

During a board discussion on realignment of health care at the university, assistant sociology professor Jean Boucher said trustees were ”missing the point.”

”Health is not the issue. This is a management issue. This is a power issue. An abuse of power,” Boucher said, urging the board, ”Step down! Step down! Step down! We need a psychological reset. We need a reset. We need a new MSU. A new MSU!”

Engler asked Boucher to leave the meeting and afterward said Boucher was ”trapped maybe in the past,” bringing boos from the audience.

Natalie Rogers of the student group Reclaim MSU read a statement saying ”we condemn sexual violence and rape culture plaguing our campus. We condemn the lack of functional institutions to investigate instances of sexual misconduct, prevent sexual assault, and support the survivors.”

Engler acknowledged that the MSU community has suffered from a ”terrible incident, and there have been literally hundreds of young women and girls who have been damaged by one evil doctor who’s now gone to prison.”

He said MSU is fixing its problems, and ”we’re also going to be moving ahead as a university.”

Nassar was a campus sports doctor who molested girls and young women. He has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexual assault and child pornography crimes.