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MSU students react to reports of Board of Trustees members wanting President Stanley to resign

Michigan State University sign made of brick and limestone, built in a landscaped area
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Michigan State University

Michigan State University students are asking for transparency amidst reported calls from Board of Trustees members for the resignation of President Samuel Stanley Jr.

On Sunday afternoon, a Detroit Free Press report sent shockwaves across the MSU community. Anonymous sources alleged President Stanley had been given until Tuesday by the Board of Trustees to resign or face being fired.

The issue, according to the report, was over his handling of the ouster last month of Broad College of Business Dean Sanjay Gupta.

Provost Teresa Woodruff has said Gupta stepped down following a failure to report misconduct.

Morrigan Declerck, a sophomore studying economics, says they don't understand why Stanley is being criticized.

“I don't know why Stanley is suddenly under fire for that. I don't know why the MSU board is against it," they said.

Declerck says the lack of details about Gupta’s resignation and the board’s unhappiness with the move has caused confusion.

“I don't know what the two sides of the argument are. So, I don't understand what's happening, and I'd really like to know, at the very least, what the allegations are," they added.

Declerck says the whole situation has made them question the university's overall long-term stability.

"Especially those early in our college careers, we like to know the stability, that the programs that we're in, are going to stay ... semi-consistent throughout our four years here or more," they said.

Both Stanley and the provost defended their actions at a Tuesday meeting of the faculty Senate.

Later in that meeting, Trustee Rema Vassar implied the resignation deadline for Stanley reported by the Free Press was more of a suggestion and that trustees had wanted the president to consider an early retirement.

It  seemed like Saturday he was on the football field inducting Draymond into the MSU Hall of Fame and the next day, [I] see him on the news getting hit with these allegations... telling him he has to resign.
Max Gomoluch

For supply chain management major and senior Max Gomoluch, the calls for Stanley’s resignation came as a surprise.

“It  seemed like Saturday he was on the football field inducting Draymond into the MSU Hall of Fame and the next day, [I] see him on the news getting hit with these allegations... telling him he has to resign," he said.

University spokesperson Emily Guerrant has previously described conversations with the board over Stanley’s future as ongoing discussions.

Fourth year chemical engineering student Oyin Akindipe says she just wants some clarity and transparency from leadership.

“If there is something like negative or bad going on I would like for us to be updated. Even through email, because they have mass emails," she said.

Akindipe adds the fact that nobody knows what’s going on is not a good look.

"I'm a fourth year, so imagine first years are coming into school without knowing what's going on with their own leadership," she explained.

I'm a fourth year, so imagine first years are coming into school without knowing what's going on with their own leadership.
Oyin Akindipe

The university’s faculty senate has passed a resolution opposing current attempts from the board of trustees to fire Stanley until more information is released.

Zihan Choudhury, a sophomore studying economics, echoes the sentiment of that resolution.

“You can't tell somebody to resign if we don't know what the accusation is against him. Innocent until proven guilty, right?," he said. "I have to first clarify what it is. I didn't get an email or anything saying that he should resign, but I don't know what he did wrong.”

For now, Stanley remains president of MSU, and the Board has not publicly clarified if members plan to fire him.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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