EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Over the past few weeks, the students, staff, and faculty at Michigan State University have all said they have no confidence in the school’s Board of Trustees.
For the past few weeks, trustees haven’t said much since their actions prompted the president of the university to resign.
But the board met publicly for the first time Friday since the president’s announcement.
Students and faculty packed the room for the first scheduled trustees meeting since MSU President Samuel Stanley announced he was leaving office.
But what wasn’t expected were the fiery and tear-filled speeches trustees gave.
“It might not have gone the way we hoped it would, but we looked each other in the eyes and had a conversation on what’s best for this community. We sat with you guys in the same way. We all know we are committed to making this the best place,” said trustee Kelly Tebay.
“I personally want to see the board be better than it is but if I can’t trust my colleagues, that’s a problem,” said trustee Brianna Scott.
With leadership shakeup, multiple investigations and claims of lack of action, student and faculty leaders say votes of non-confidence mean there’s a deep disconnect between the board and campus.
“Moreover, these votes reflect that MSU employees hold you responsible for endangering their careers, their livelihoods, their families, and their ability to work in a supportive and non-threatening environment,” said Board Faculty Liason for MSU Karen Kelly-Blake.
This comes after the board initiated an investigation on Title IX certification and raised questions over the ousting of MSU Professor Sanjay Gupta as the dean of the business college. Earlier this month, President Stanley announced his resignation stating difficulty working with the board.
Some board members said the Title IX probe was justified.
“Not only was this a legitimate look back but it was necessary and required look back,” said trustee Dan Kelly.
Others discredited the criticism aimed at the board.
“I find it an interesting strategy by the faculty and Provost to make this about academic freedom and the termination of the dean. None of those are true,” said trustee Pat O’Keefe. “This is an attempt by the faculty to thwart a review of the processes that should be designed for a safe campus.”
President Stanley got a standing ovation after reiterating his goal of making MSU a safe and inclusive campus
Some trustees said they hope to see better collaboration with campus in the search for a new president.