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Sources: Bad News Cut From Michigan State Alumni Magazine

June 21, 2018

After a review by Michigan State University interim president John Engler, an upcoming edition of the university’s alumni magazine will not include planned long-form essays exploring how the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case has tainted the university, multiple anonymous administration sources told the Detroit Free Press.

It will also apparently not include a striking black-and-white cover image of a woman wearing teal lipstick -- teal is the color that Nassar survivors and supporters wear to show solidarity.

Sources told the Free Press that Engler saw the planned image, among others, and said, "Get that teal shit out of here."

While the magazine issue will address the crisis, sources said, it will showcase positive moves Engler has made since taking over, such as adding more counselors. Several people close to Engler who were not authorized to speak to the media said the effort is part of his push to “pivot toward positive news” in the wake of the scandal.

MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant acknowledged that Engler has reviewed drafts of the magazine and "provided feedback" to editors, the Free Press reported.

Rachael Denhollander, the first Nassar survivor to go public, said Engler's attitude toward survivors “is a whole new set of problems. It's just compounding [the issues]. It's why survivors aren't coming forward.”

Nassar, the former U.S. gymnastics team doctor and a onetime MSU associate professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was sentenced earlier this year to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

MSU fired Nassar in September 2016.

Engler has also been directly involved in crafting a public rebuke of a woman who said in a lawsuit that she was raped by three basketball players and that MSU counseling staff discouraged reporting the rape. Engler’s statement potentially violated a federal privacy law, according to emails obtained by the Free Press, which said the emails show that Engler and his advisers shared facts about the case.

The Free Press also obtained emails from Engler to his top adviser in which Engler accused Denhollander of likely getting kickbacks from trial attorneys involved in lawsuits against the school. Denhollander has denied the accusation.

In other instances, the Free Press reported, Engler has pushed for the university to “pivot toward the future” and away from the Nassar case.

Michigan lawmakers and others, including 120 Nassar survivors, have called for Engler to resign, but he said last week he had no plans to do so.


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