Michigan State University hired a second interim president. First, President Lou Anna Simon resigned after 13 years following criticism that she didn’t do enough to stop Dr. Larry Nassar from abusing girls. John Engler replaced her as interim president in 2018, but he, too, faced criticism for insensitivity to Nassar’s victims.
Most recently, Engler commented after a $425 million fund was approved for 332 current claimants and another $75 million was approved for additional victims. Engler said, “The people who got the $425 million are probably OK." Engler said he was thinking more about the potential additional victims who haven’t been part of the process yet. He made things worse when he said more:
"You’ve got people, they are hanging on and this has been … there are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven’t been in the spotlight. In some ways they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it’s ending. It’s almost done.”
People took great offense to his implication that the earlier claimants have “enjoyed the spotlight.” So now, MSU has a new interim president, Satish Udpa.
Try to see Engler’s point of view. What was he trying to convey with his comments?
We might say that Engler’s comments lacked compassion. What else is problematic about his comments?
What’s your view? Was forcing Engler’s resignation the right thing to do? Why or why not?