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John Engler

The "Sparty" statue on the MSU campus
Betsy Weber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A group of Larry Nassar survivors are organizing a rally tonight at Michigan State University to call for the resignations of interim president John Engler and the entire board of trustees.

The rally comes after accusations and apologies about a meeting between Engler and one of Nassar’s victims. 

John Engler at the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting of the 2017/18 school year.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio NPR

Whether you liked his policies or not, there’s no doubt John Engler was an enormously effective governor a quarter-century ago. He knew the Legislature and how it worked.

He also knew virtually all of its members personally – their strengths, their weaknesses, what they wanted and needed. That was partly because he’d spent 20 years in the state house and senate before being elected governor in a tremendous upset in 1990.

That reputation for getting things done is why Michigan State trustees chose Engler as their interim president at the end of January. 

Kaylee Lorincz at MSU Board of Trustees Meeting Friday
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio NPR

"Fake news.” That's how a top Michigan State University official described a Nassar survivor's claims that Interim President John Engler offered her a $250 thousand payout in return for dropping her suit against the school.

The Detroit Free Press obtained emails sent by a top Engler aide following Kaylee Lorincz's appearance before the Board of Trustees, where she described the meeting she and her mother had with Engler, his aide, and a university spokesperson.

Whenever you think things couldn’t possibly get worse for Michigan State, they do. Just after the team doctor turned sexual predator went off to prison, disaster struck again.

William Strampel, his former boss and the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was arrested and charged with various things, including criminal sexual misconduct of his own. That case has yet to work its way through the courts, but is going to be anything but helpful to MSU’s attempts to heal itself and stay solvent.

John Engler at the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting of the 2017/18 school year.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio NPR

What struck Dan Wetzel, a national columnist for Yahoo Sports, most about last Friday’s MSU board meeting was the way Michigan State University Interim President John Engler interrupted Nassar survivor Kaylee Lorincz as she tried to tell a story about him.

“For him to interrupt her, to say, ‘Your time’s up’ – it’s like he has no idea,” Wetzel said. “I don’t think he even knows what the phrase means these days. It tells me he’s not paying attention to anything. He seemed to say it without irony.”

Kaylee Lorincz at MSU Board of Trustees Meeting Friday
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio NPR

Last Friday, an 18-year-old survivor of former MSU sports doctor Larrry Nassar’s sexual abuse stood before the university’s Board of Trustees and Interim President John Engler. She made national headlines.

Kaylee Lorincz accused Engler of privately offering her $250,000 to drop her civil lawsuit against the school, and after she said it wasn’t about the money, she says Engler told her, “Well, give me a number, then.” She says he offered a number to survivor Rachael Denhollander.

Before Lorincz could finish recounting the events before the Board, the interim president told her “Time’s up. Stop.”

Kaylee Lorincz at MSU Board of Trustees Meeting Friday
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio NPR

Updated April 13th at 5:40 pm

Kaylee Lorincz, a survivor of former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse, accused Michigan State University Interim President John Engler of privately offering her a $250,000 check to drop her civil lawsuit against the school.

Lorincz says she told Engler it “wasn’t about the money.”

“Well give me a number then,” Engler replied, according to Lorincz’s allegations.

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan State University's interim president John Engler announced the school was returning to mediation with victims of Larry Nassar, saying "The university remains committed to reaching a fair settlement with all the survivors."

But at the same time, MSU lawyers were trying again to dismiss the numerous federal lawsuits the university facing.

People who remember, remember Republican John Engler as a blunt, pugnacious governor. And, before that, the same as state Senate majority leader.

Former Governor John Engler
WikiCommons

Michigan State University interim president John Engler accused state lawmakers of interfering with negotiations to settle out of court with victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar. Engler's comments came in response to a set of bills adopted by the senate this week that give victims more time to file lawsuits. The former governor also said the bills could subject universities to more lawsuits and drive up tuition.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about Engler's reaction to the legislation.


Twenty years ago, John Engler was by far, the biggest figure in Lansing, and perhaps the most powerful governor Michigan has ever had. He understood the legislature better than anyone, largely because he had been in it for twenty years before becoming governor.

He was both respected and feared, and lawmakers in both parties thought twice before taking him on. Times have changed, however, and yesterday Engler, now interim president of Michigan State University, found himself testifying before a skeptical senate subcommittee.

Michigan State University interim President John Engler scolded lawmakers today over bills that would make it easier for sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits.

He says the debate is affecting settlement negotiations with victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Engler appeared before a Senate universities budget subcommittee. He told the committee chair the bills could also drive up tuition. 

“Your legislation would certainly probably do that," he said. "I don’t know if it would force bankruptcy or not. I hope not.”

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler speaks at Hillsdale College on on January 25, 2009.
Chuck Grimmett / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Former Governor John Engler will donate his salary while serving as Michigan State University's interim president. Engler took over the role after Lou Anna Simon resigned amid criticism over MSU's handling of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Engler's appointment has drawn both praise and criticism. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about how he's doing so far. 


Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Back in the late 1850s, a handful of farm boys were taken to the woods outside Lansing and told to cut down some trees and build themselves classrooms and a dorm.

That was the beginning of what became Michigan State University. Last month may have been the worst in that school’s long history.

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler will donate his salary while serving as Michigan State University's interim president amid fallout over now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted female athletes.

The university's Board of Trustees said Wednesday that Engler's annual salary will be $510,399. His contract was finalized this week, but he agreed his salary would go back to the school in East Lansing.

His predecessor, Lou Anna Simon, resigned in January amid criticism of the university's handling of issues related to Nassar.

The "Sparty" statue on the MSU campus
Betsy Weber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University’s major governing body held its first official public meeting with interim president John Engler today.

The Board and Engler tried to keep the meeting "business as usual," although several members acknowledged calls by students and faculty to step down. 

At the end of the meeting, several students stood up with posters condemning the board and Engler.

Belmont Tower at MSU
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State University Faculty Senate passed a vote of no confidence in the schools’ Board of Trustees Tuesday.

Michigan State University sign
Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Michigan State University's interim president and former Gov. John Engler has appointed an interim athletic director and said that no candidates from MSU would be considered for the permanent job. He has also ordered MSU staff to preserve anything that could be evidence for various sexual assault investigations.

Detroit Economic Club / via Twitter

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters says former Republican Governor John Engler might not be the right person to lead Michigan State University right now.

Peters made the comments after addressing the Detroit Economic Club Monday, where his speech focused on Michigan’s future as a center of development for autonomous vehicles, and the artificial intelligence capabilities they promise.

Bill Beekman
Michigan State University

Michigan State University Interim President John Engler appointed Bill Beekman as interim athletic director Monday afternoon.

Beekman’s appointment comes amid ongoing investigations into the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Most recently, Beekman served as acting president of MSU before former Michigan governor John Engler was named interim president on Friday, February 2. He’s served as vice president and secretary of the Board of Trustees since 2008. He’s also previously served as executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.

Plaque on the door of the MSU Board of Trustees
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

State Attorney General Bill Schuette wants the governor to be in charge of appointing board members at Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. Board members at those schools are currently chosen through statewide elections.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's call to eliminate the elections, which comes as MSU's board faces public scrutiny over its response to the Larry Nassar scandal. 


Former Michigan Gov. John Engler speaks at Hillsdale College on on January 25, 2009.
Chuck Grimmett / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University is consumed by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. It’s so far claimed the school’s president, its athletic director and a growing chunk of its reputation. So, what does MSU’S partisan Board of Trustees do? They tap former Republican governor John Engler as interim president.

As confidence-building measures go, the move doesn’t rank among the best of them. It nakedly exposes just how partisan the governance of MSU really is – and how irrelevant the students, the faculty and transparency are to those making the decisions.

Former Governor John Engler
WikiCommons

Twenty-seven years ago, Jim Blanchard and State Senate Majority Leader John Engler ran against each other in one of the most dramatic gubernatorial elections in Michigan history. Blanchard, the incumbent, was heavily favored. But in the biggest upset in state political history, John Engler won a narrow victory and went on to serve three terms.

Joint Congress
The White House

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address last night. He made references to the auto industry in Michigan and took credit for some jobs moving to the region.

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the parts of the speech relevant to Michigan residents.

Former Governor John Engler
WikiCommons

Former Governor John Engler will named as the interim president at Michigan State University.

Michigan Radio has confirmed that the MSU Board of Trustees will vote to appoint Engler on Wednesday.

Engler takes on the post at a difficult time for the university as it reels from the fallout of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

Multiple investigations of the university are underway, including by Attorney General Bill Schuette and the NCAA.

Governor Rick Snyder’s election seven years ago was supposed to represent the political triumph of “economic gardening,” the idea that government doesn’t offer big incentives to land big companies and, thus, pick winners and losers.

Instead, the idea goes, economic gardening works to create an overall environment that allows businesses and startups to grow organically. The benefits are supposed to be fairness to both small and large businesses and that tax breaks and incentives are more across the board.

There was a lot of horrified reaction from those who support public schools at the announcement that Michigan’s own Betsy DeVos was Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of education.

John Austin, the president of the Michigan Board of Education, said “it’s like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse and feeding it school children.” Austin, however, was narrowly defeated this year, and won’t be around to try and resist.


Another road funding plan is moving in Lansing but, after four years of debate, one has to wonder: has a real solution become an impossible dream?

In the state Legislature, the Senate now has the House plan. The House has the Senate plan. But, even though it’s Republicans calling the shots in Lansing, Republicans can’t agree on what to do about fixing the roads.

Last weekend I went to a dinner party on Mackinac Island at the home of a longtime state office holder, who is a Democrat.  Nearly all guests were dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, and they began discussing next year’s race for governor.

They agreed that Governor Rick Snyder, whose policies they all loathed, was almost certain to be defeated next year.

I didn’t say anything, till someone asked. “The election is a long way away” I said, “but if I had to bet, I would say there is a seventy percent chance Snyder will be reelected.”

Matthileo / Flickr

Taxes, as we all know too well, are a powerful political issue. And the issue has come up yet again at the state Capitol. A cut in the state income tax has become part of the negotiations as Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature's top Republican leaders wrap up their budget negotiations. Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, and I sit down to talk politics every Friday and today, in It's Just Politics, it is all the politics of taxes.

Rick Pluta: The governor and the Legislature have set this deadline of June 1 for wrapping up the next state budget.

Zoe Clark: And that's important, because - even though the state's fiscal year begins October 1 - schools, community colleges, cities, townships, and counties all have budget years that begin July 1. They all have budgets that are tied into state spending.

RP: Right. Now, in the final days of discussions, Republicans have put an income tax cut on the table. State House Republicans will roll out the legislation next week.

ZC: So, that begs the question: why are they doing it now?

RP: Well, for a year and a half, Democrats in Lansing have hammered Republicans because all the tax and budget reforms have focused on reducing costs for businesses: eliminating the Michigan Business Tax on 95,000 businesses and the proposal to eliminate the tax on industrial equipment.

ZC: At the same time, a dozen tax credits and exemptions claimed by homeowners, parents, seniors on pensions, and  poor families earning incomes were ended.

RP: And Democrats have been pounding Republicans with that incessantly and with an eye toward the November elections - when, we should note, all 110 seats in the state House of Representatives are up for election.

ZC: So now, courtesy of Republicans, a proposal for income tax relief.

RP: The main bills in the tax rollback package will be sponsored by state Representatives Holly Hughes and Ed McBroom, Republicans representing districts that are considered marginally - 51, 52 percent - Democratic.

ZC: And Democrats most certainly want those seats back.

RP: Exactly, and this shows Republicans intend to put a fight in these seats by giving their incumbents these bills. One accelerates a reduction in the income tax rate; the other increases the personal exemption. But the bottom line is Republicans want the message to be: Republicans equal tax cuts. Democrats, however, have already revealed their counterattack.

ZC: And the counterattack is really what their message has been all along. Since last year, GOP hegemony in Lansing has meant tax cuts to businesses while seniors, homeowners, and working poor families all lost tax breaks that they've counted on, as well as reductions for schools, universities, and local governments.

RP:  Right, so Democrats say this so-called "tax relief:" 50 cents a week, nine dollars a person per year  is pretty meager compared to the costs that everyone has had to pick up in the name of improving the business climate.

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