John Engler, Michigan State University’s interim president, will testify before Congress on July 24. He will be talking about changes the university has made following the conviction of former MSU gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who abused hundreds of women and girls for decades -- even as complaints about him were made to the university.
Engler will be speaking as part of a presentation entitled “Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving Forward with Solutions.”
He will testify before a subcommittee within the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It's the same subcommittee former MSU President Lou Anna Simon spoke in front of back on June 5. Simon resigned in January amidst the Nassar scandal, many blaming her and her administration for failing to pay proper attention to accusations against Nassar. Engler became president following her resignation.
“I think they would like to hear what is being done at the university,” says Emily Guerrant, a vice president and spokesperson for MSU. “And that’s what we're looking forward to sharing, talking about the changes, the improvements that we've been making on campus as it relates to policies or procedures or the way we're handling sexual assault claims.”
Engler recently came under fire when Nassar survivor Kaylee Lorincz accused him of trying to secretly settle her case for $250,000. She says her lawyer was not present. Engler released a statement saying, “Our memories and interpretations of the March 28 meeting are different than hers.”
He faced even more backlash when emails that he sent in April went public. In those emails he said the Nassar survivors were “being manipulated by trial lawyers” and that Rachael Denhollander, the first Nassar survivor to go public, was “likely to get a kickback” “for her role in the trial manipulation.”
The Nassar survivors released a statement shortly after these emails went public, asking the MSU Board of Trustees to remove him from his interim presidency.
“While our hope had been that President Engler would bring accountability, transparency, and change to MSU, it is clear to us that he cannot,” they wrote in a joint statement.
Engler is scheduled to testify before the subcommittee at 2:30 p.m. on July 24.