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Skubick: MSU Board of Trustee candidates gather, differ on Engler choice

EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) - The four major party candidates running for the MSU Board of Trustees appeared in their only television joint meeting today.

They have differing views on whether John Engler should be the helm of the troubled university.

John Engler is interim MSU president.

But if Democrat Brianna Scott had been there, along with Democrat Kelly Tebay, they would have voted "no".

"He did ignore 400 women in the prison system complaining of sexual assault," said Ms. Tebay. "He destroyed the mental health system by closing down all the mental health facilities and he wasn't a champion for education."

Ms. Scott adds, "one of the fears that I had is someone coming in as an ex-governor would politicize this and perhaps use that position to put people from his party into high positions at MSU."

Republican Dave Dutch would have supported Mr. Engler and Mike Miller had two answers on the Engler selection.

"It's not necessarily a political issue, it's administrative," said Mr. Miller. "I don't know if I would have supported President Engler."

But when asked if his name was before the board and he had to vote "yea" or "nay", Mr. Miller responds, "I probably would have voted for him."

Republican candidate Dave Dutch says of Engler, "he loves the university. He has kids who went to this university. We were in an ugly ugly place, law suits coming in, the legislature putting up things against us. We needed someone to do crisis management."

However on the departure of former president Dr. Lou Anna Simon, all four agreed she had to go.

The candidates were asked what was the worse mistake the board made on the Larry Nassar sexual abuse issue.

"They bungled the reaction to hunkering down and protect," said Mr. Dutch. 

Mr. Miller adds, "I think MSU made huge mistakes on finding out who knew what and when."

And Ms. Miller said, "they came out and were very very defensive. What they should have done early on was to convene with the survivors."

"We never said we made a mistake and were going to fix it," said Ms. Tebay. "That's huge."

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