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MSU president, provost defend administration on Gupta, Title IX reports

Samuel Stanley Jr speaking to MSU faculty senate 220913.png
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MSU president Samuel Stanley Jr. speaks to the university's faculty senate during a virtual meeting Tuesday evening.

The president and provost of Michigan State University have spoken publicly for the first time about recent reporting over the president’s job status. This follows the ouster of the school’s business college dean last month.

MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. and Provost Teresa Woodruff addressed a virtual meeting of the university’s faculty senate Tuesday evening. Both defended their recent actions in light of harsh criticism over what some allege was the firing of Broad College of Business Dean Sanjay Gupta, and news reports the Board of Trustees is pressuring Stanley to step down.

Woodruff described a meeting with Gupta, who she says had failed to report misconduct as required by MSU policy.

“After this interchange, I accepted the oral resignation of Dr. Gupta, who shook my hand and thanked me for the comportment of the process,” Woodruff said.

President Stanley responded to reports that he had signed state-required Title IX reports that had not been reviewed by trustees, saying he had complied with the certification process for two years.

“Contrary to information previously provided to me in June of this year, June 2022, I was notified that some of our board members may not have actually complied with their part of the state requirement in 2021,” Stanley said. “We asked for an internal audit and review of this situation, which raised questions about our compliance and made it clear that we can improve the processes by which the reviews were taking place.”

The faculty senate approved a resolution opposing any current attempt by the board to fire Stanley. A second resolution calling on the board to hire a consulting firm and undergo professional development with the president also passed. An earlier version of that resolution would have demanded the trustees resign.

Trustee Rema Vassar also spoke during the university’s faculty senate meeting, saying only one member of the board was opposed last week to asking Stanley to resign.

Vassar said the board’s chairperson was alone in wishing to retain Stanley.

“The only person who fundamentally was opposed to that, but still met with him, would be Chair Byrum,” Vassar told the meeting. “The rest of the board thought this was the best idea.”

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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