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Michigan State names Satish Upda interim president after John Engler's ouster

Michigan State names Satish Upda interim president after John Engler's ouster
Members of the media gather around newly named Michigan State University interim president Satish Upta following a board of trustees meeting on Jan. 17. (Matthew Dae Smith / Associated Press)

In continuing fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal, Michigan State has ousted its interim president, who had agreed to resign as of next week but will now leave immediately.

John Engler is the second university leader to be forced out because of the scandal. Shortly after he confirmed his resignation by letter on Thursday, the university’s board of trustees voted unanimously to replace him with administrator Satish Udpa.

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Engler had come under fire for, among other things, his response to Nassar’s victims.

“While we collectively are working very hard to make needed improvements regarding the prevention of and response to sexual misconduct and relationship violence, as well as enhancing patient care and safety, none of our hard work will matter if people in leadership say hurtful things and do not listen to the survivors,” board chairwoman Dianne Byrum said in a statement.

Hundreds of young athletes have accused Nassar — who worked as a sports doctor for not only Michigan State but also USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic team — of molesting them under the guise of providing medical treatment.

Nassar, 55, is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault and possession of child pornography.

A wave of lawsuits emerged from the scandal, prompting Michigan State to establish a $500-million fund to settle current and future claims.

In January 2018, university President Lou Ann Simon resigned amid complaints about how she handled the issue. Simon has since been charged with lying to police during their investigation.

As her replacement, Engler triggered similar ire, most recently when he spoke to the Detroit News about some Nassar victims “in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition.”

A former Republican governor, he referenced the trustees’ political affiliation in his resignation, writing that the addition of Democratic members “has created a new majority on the Board.”

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