Michigan State Group Asks Presidential Candidates to Go Public

January 8, 2019

A group of Michigan State University students, employees and alumni have struck out so far in their efforts to persuade university administrators to conduct the search for a new president in public. So today it is asking the candidates themselves to take the unusual step of publicly revealing themselves even if the search process remains closed.

Candidates need to engage publicly before they are hired, argues the group, ReclaimMSU, in an open letter released Monday. It wants them to challenge what it described as Michigan State's secrecy and lack of accountability.

“We love MSU, but we do not trust our presidential search process,” the open letter says. “We do not trust our Board of Trustees. And we do not trust our interim president. We hope we can trust you to work with the entire MSU community to rebuild our trust and pride in MSU.”

The group adds, “Any candidate who has succeeded in this calcified, top-down, secretive and retaliatory culture cannot effectively change it.”

Michigan State is searching for a new leader after its longtime president, Lou Anna Simon, stepped down last year in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Simon was later charged with lying to police as they investigated the Nassar case.

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