Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley announced his resignation in a video message Thursday, saying he had lost faith in the school’s board of trustees.
Stanley came out with a blistering on-set attack. In a Video of 4 minutes and 54 seconds he said he had submitted his contractual 90-day notice for his resignation. MSU spokesman Dan Olsen said Stanley will remain in his current role for 90 days, or until about mid-January, but will not remain on the faculty. His contract had allowed him to join the faculty after retiring or resigning.
“I have … lost faith in the actions of the current board and cannot in good conscience continue to serve that board,” Stanley said. “Campus actions over the past month have shown the world that Michigan State University will not accept micromanagement by members of the (university’s) operations board and that we will hold individuals, regardless of be their rank, responsible for their action.”
In response to Stanley’s resignation, the full Board of Directors issued a statement saying, “The MSU Board of Directors appreciates the services rendered by Chairman Stanley over the past three years. President Stanley arrived at a difficult time and provided consistent leadership to guide us forward as the entire world experienced severe disruption and uncertainty. The Board of Trustees will work cooperatively with President Stanley during this transition and more details will be shared with the campus community as information becomes available.
Some board members had disagreements with Stanley over his direction of the school.
At issue was Stanley’s handling of the Title IX-related expulsion of business school dean Sanjay Gupta, who abruptly resigned in August, and the certification of Title IX reports to the state. Faculty members and the student government both voted no confidence in the board, saying it was getting into business it shouldn’t.
The board hired an outside law firm to investigate the handling of the Gupta case and other issues within the Office of Institutional Equity. The closing date of this investigation has not yet been announced.
The reaction is pouring in
The reaction to Stanley’s announcement was swift. U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, took to Twitter early Thursday afternoon, tweeting: ‘I spoke with President Stanley and thanked him for his hard work leading @michiganstateu through some of its toughest challenges, including guiding the school through the fallout of the Larry Nassar scandal and through the darkest days of the pandemic.”
Former administrator Brian Mossallam posted on Twitter: “There is only one person who can unite our fractured university in the meantime. I say this with all sincerity. We need unification and a steady hand. I speak only for the sake of the unit and as someone who knows how divisive and toxic it is right now. Only one person: Tom Izzo”, the head basketball coach from MSU.
Terriyana Gregory, an MSU senior specializing in publicity management and journalism, said she was surprised by Stanley’s decision.
“I was surprised because I didn’t think he was going to have to quit,” Gregory said. “I thought… everything was sorted. I guess it didn’t work out the way he planned either, because to me he seemed confident to stay.
“I just want the next president that we need to be more organized and stay a little longer, for as many years as possible,” she added.
Malachi Noronha, a senior at MSU majoring in psychology and criminal justice, said he was surprised and relieved.
“I say this because I don’t believe it, and the board made the best decisions about getting students back on campus while COVID was still spreading in the thousands,” he said. “I hope the council will choose a new chair and work together for the good of the students. I really hope they will seek more input from the students and act on their behalf and according to their needs. »
Another victim of management
Stanley is the third consecutive school leader to be expelled due to issues with MSU’s handling of sexual misconduct cases.
Lou Anna Simon was deported in January 2018 at the height of the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal. Nassar, an MSU team doctor, was found guilty of assaulting dozens of athletes, mostly gymnasts. MSU had complaints about Nassar but cleared him.
John Engler, who was acting president after Simon, resigned under pressure over his handling of the Nassar fallout, including insensitive comments he repeatedly made about Nassar’s victims.
Stanley was hired in May 2019 from Stony Brook University in New York.
MSU board leaders, representing the entire board, told him in September that he had lost the trust of the board and should step down, sources previously said. at the Free Press. Stanley’s contract provides for two different types of resignation, with or without cause. In his letter to the board, he said he was resigning without cause. Based on this, his contract requires him to collect his presidential salary for 90 days from the day of the notice. He signed a new contract in 2021 which increased his annual salary to $960,000.
“As written, it does not appear that he is eligible for a sabbatical since it is conditional on ‘the completion of the term of office,'” Jim Finkelstein, professor emeritus of public policy at George Mason University, who studies the presidents’ employment contracts and reviewed Stanley’s contract, the Free Press told . “The ‘term’ is defined as ending on July 31, 2024. He is also forfeiting any deferred compensation he had accrued since it is also contingent upon the completion of the ‘term’.”
Since the Free Press first reported news of board members asking Stanley to step down, the campus has seen public bickering. Two board members, chair Dianne Byrum and Melanie Foster, said they thought Stanley should stay. Board member Rema Vassar said she doesn’t have a “relationship of trust” with Stanley. The other council members remained relatively silent.
The Leaders of the Faculty Senate and the student government both sent strongly worded letters to the board saying they should let Stanley handle academic issues and drop the investigations. Stanley and Provost Teresa Woodruff also sent letters telling the council to back down.
The council also heard from a group of 23 senior business school professors encouraging them to pursue the investigation.
Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj