“Spartans deserve better.”
That was the message at a rally at Michigan State University Friday night. About 100 students, community members and sexual assault survivors came out to call for the resignations of the entire Board of Trustees and Interim President John Engler.
Standing on the steps of the Hannah Administration Building, Morgan McCaul introduced herself to the crowd as a victim of Larry Nassar’s abuse. She says she’s sick of watching the school’s president and advisors dismiss and insult fellow survivors over the last couple of weeks.
“Spartans deserve to feel safe! Spartans deserve to feel heard! And together our voices are too strong for the Board of Trustees or John Engler to drown out or shout down,” McCaul shouted. “We will not be silenced anymore. Raise your voices right now: time is up!”
Protestors echoed her call: “Time is up! Time is up! Time is up!”
The chant was an intentional echo of what Engler told 18-year-old Kaylee Lorincz at last week's trustees meeting: Lorincz, herself a Nassar survivor, accused Engler of using a private meeting to try to pay her off to settle her lawsuit against the school. “Kaylee, your time is up,” Engler told Lorincz over shouting and chants of “Let her speak! Let her speak!”
While Engler’s team later issued a statement saying “our memories and interpretations of the March 28 meeting are different than [Lorincz’s,]” the allegations sparked yet another public relations crisis for the school – one that only worsened when private emails from MSU’s Vice President and Special Counsel to the President Carol Viventi leaked to the Detroit Free Press.
In them, Viventi accuses Lorincz of trying to “set up” MSU and spreading “fake news,” adding that Nassar victims are generally quick to claim “victimization.” Viventi has since issued an apology.
At Friday’s rally, Lorincz told the crowd she was telling the truth about her meeting with Engler. What’s more, she says Engler waved off the claims filed by other Nassar victims. “Mr. Engler said with disdain in his voice, ‘Everyone will get paid. Those over 20. The neighbor girl. Even the 53-year-old. Now do you think that’s fair?’” as protestors booed.
“Lies hurt forever, that’s my fear,” Lorincz continued. “President Engler and his administrators know how to lie really well.”
MSU’s student newspaper, The State News, issued an editorial this week calling on the trustees to resign.