Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley announced his resignation in a video released on YouTube. The resignation comes after The Detroit Free Press reported last month that the Board of Trustees asked Stanley to resign over his handling of the resignation of Sanjay Gupta, former dean of the Eli Broad College of Business at MSU.
Gupta resigned amidst controversy over his handling of Title-IX concerns during his time in the position. A spokesperson from MSU later confirmed that the Board was actively reviewing Stanley’s contract. Stanley did not choose to step down at the time.
The following month saw faculty members and MSU’s student government issue statements criticizing the Board over their lack of transparency. On Tuesday, the MSU Faculty Senate passed a vote of no confidence in the Board of Trustees, claiming that the Board has “continued to destabilize the university.”
In the video announcing his resignation, Stanley said he had also lost confidence in the Board of Trustees.
“I cannot in good conscience continue to serve this board,” Stanley said. “The actions of the campus over the past month have shown the world that Michigan State University will not accept micromanagement by board members of the operations (of the university) and that we will hold individuals, no matter what their rank, accountable for their action.”
Stanley said in his resignation letter that, under his contract, he will continue as president for the next 90 days to facilitate a transition. Stanley’s resignation will take effect on Jan. 11, 2023.
“During the notice period, I will fulfill my duties as President and will cooperate and provide reasonable assistance in the transition to a new University president,” Stanley wrote in his resignation letter.
Michigan is one of only four states where citizens elect public university board members and the only state in the nation to place these elections on a statewide ballot.
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., applauded Stanley’s service to MSU in a statement posted to Twitter.
“He has been an excellent partner to my office and a steadfast advocate for MSU’s students, the East Lansing community, and our entire state,” Slotkin wrote. “The responsibility now falls on the board to show real leadership and to choose an interim president with the experience and management skills to make this transition as seamless as possible.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told reporters at a campaign event Thursday that she was concerned about Stanley’s resignation and would be watching the replacement search carefully.
“I’ve always found President Stanley to be wonderful to work with,” Whitmer said. “I’m concerned about it both as a Spartan and as the governor of the state.”
Stanley is the third president of Michigan’s three largest public universities to have either stepped down or had board members vote for their termination in the past three years. The move makes Stanley the third consecutive MSU President to prematurely end their tenure.
Former University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel was fired by the Board of Regents in January over an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University, faced an ultimately unsuccessful vote to fire him by the University’s board members due to concerns that he was overstepping his authority. Wilson announced in August that he would be stepping down as president following the completion of his contract in July 2023.
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