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MSU Trustee Pat O’Keefe resigns following clash over Title IX enforcement


Michigan State University Trustee Pat O’Keefe is resigning. His resignation follows clashes with administrators and fellow board members over the school’s handling of Title IX issues.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer communications director Bobby Leddy confirms her office has received a resignation letter from Trustee O’Keefe.

In the letter, O’Keefe criticized the MSU Board of Trustees for a lack of accountability in addressing the dismissal of the business college’s dean and the university’s approach to Title IX enforcement.

"My belief is that shadows of the University's past will continue to linger if true change remains aspirational and the Board does not practice the transparency it seeks to promote," O'Keefe wrote.

O’Keefe supported an independent investigation into the dean’s dismissal.

The investigation was widely criticized by campus community members, who said the board was engaging in excessive academic management.

When the board addressed community concerns at its October meeting, O'Keefe criticized "the sexual transgressions of faculty" and defended the independent probe of Gupta's departure. His impassioned remarks drew criticism from faculty members.

Trustee O’Keefe, a Republican, was elected to the board in 2020 on a campaign of affordability and transparency following the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal. Whitmer will be responsible for appointing his replacement.

In a statement, Leddy said the governor will begin searching for an appointee who can continue moving the university forward.

"Michigan State University is a premier institution in the state," Leddy said. "It is deeply important to Governor Whitmer, both as a Spartan and as governor, that students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the public have confidence in the board. That begins with having great partners and great leadership in these positions."

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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