Email Edits at MSU

Emails at Michigan State University reveal interesting email editing regarding the controversy about Larry Nassar, the medical doctor who sexually abused hundreds of female athletes, including many during his post at the university.

The previous university president resigned, and the interim doesn't seem to be winning much support. John M. Engler drafted an email that included these statements, obtained by The Chronicle of Higher Education:


But his email was edited to the following, a watered-down apology if that:


The university continues to be criticized for a lack of empathy for survivors of the sexual abuse, and perhaps here we see an example of the administration's failures to offer a sincere apology.

While trying to keep his job, Engler did apologize for an earlier statement, implying that Nassar's first victim would probably get a "kickback" from her lawyer for encouraging others to come forward. The trustees voted to keep Engler despite the controversy.

Image source.


  • What is the value of an apology, and what does an effective apology include?
  • What is the interim president's responsibility for the final email after the editing process?
  • Which leadership character failures are demonstrated by this example?