More than 100 Larry Nassar Survivors are Urging Michigan State University to Fire Its Interim President , John Engler.
"While our hope was that President Engler would bring accountability, transparency and change to the MSU, it is clear to us that he can not do so," reads a statement to the MSU Board of Trustees signed by 120 self-defense groups. proclaimed "surviving sisters."
In the statement published on Tuesday morning, survivors wrote that Engler, 69, "has only reinforced the culture of abuse" at the university, and has asked him to resign or be dismissed by the board of directors. The letter included the signatures of Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and the first woman to speak publicly against Nassar, Rachael Denhollander.
Engler, the former Republican governor of Michigan, was named interim president of MSU in late January after former president Lou Anna Simon abruptly resigned amid criticism of how he handled the Nassar case.
Engler's call to give up a series of leaked emails published earlier this month in which he suggested that Denhollander received a monetary "charge" from his lawyer. He was also involved in another controversy in April in which the media reported that he allegedly offered a survivor of Nassar $ 250,000. Engler confirmed that he met with the survivor, but denied that he offered him money.
"This is not leadership," the survivors wrote. "President Engler's statements and behavior are subtle threats against anyone who dares to speak against his abuser and the environment that allowed his predatory behavior, so that they will not be ridiculed, lied to, and blatantly mocked by a person of immense power."
MSU student and Nassar survivor Morgan McCaul told HuffPost that he signed the letter to protect women and ensure that future survivors are respected when they tell their stories.
"I signed the letter because we can not afford a misogynist to establish the campus climate, who we appoint in office matters," he said. "And then, when … an institution that is committed to making changes has a leader so strongly opposed to women seeking justice, it sends a message about institutional priorities, I signed the letter because I fear for the women on that campus, and how could they to feel presenting his stories in a hostile environment in which John Engler leads the way. "
The survivors reiterated in the statement that their main objective is to protect other victims on the MSU campus who have not yet submitted their stories.
"We decided to speak at a high personal cost because it was the right thing to do, because we care about those who are still silenced, because we protect those who are still at risk," the letter says. "Current and future survivors who have not yet spoken should know that they will not be attacked and that they will be assigned the same motivations as their abuser when they demand justice"
Nassar, former team doctor MSU and gymnastics of the United States, is accused of sexually abusing more than 260 young athletes under the guise of medical treatment. Now he is serving three simultaneous prison sentences of up to 175 years for sexual assault and child pornography.
The women addressed each fiduciary board separately, urging them individually to take action and dismiss Engler. The statement comes only three days before the next board meeting.
"There is no debate: President Engler has failed miserably, President Engler and the leaders of MSU have refused to listen, persist in attacking our character, our integrity and our intelligence, and these attacks send a clear message that the survivors who speak they will also be attacked, "the statement says.
"They send a clear message that the perpetrators and enablers will not be responsible, they send a clear message that nothing in MSU, any of the mentalities that allowed Larry Nassar to abuse children for decades, has changed," the letter continues. "Therefore, it is our position that MSU can not move forward and become an institution of integrity and security until John Engler ceases to be president, and finds a new interim leader who will resist an abusive culture."
Brian Mossalam and Dianne Byrum, two of MSU's publicly elected trustees, have also asked for Engler's resignation.
"Unfortunately, and with great regret, John Engler's tenure as interim president has continued the bleeding rather than curbing it," Mosallam said in a statement on Friday. "Their wrong actions and comments have failed to restore confidence at Michigan State University."
Read the full statement below.
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