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Michigan State Appoints Provost as Interim President

November 1, 2022

Teresa Woodruff is the new interim president of Michigan State University, the Board of Trustees announced following a special meeting Monday. Woodruff, who has been provost since 2020, will become MSU’s fifth president—including interims—since 2018.

Woodruff steps into the position vacated by Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr., who resigned last month following a standoff with the board over alleged missteps on certifying Title IX reports, a which state law requires. Dr. Stanley has maintained that he acted properly, and the board announced last week that it would release the findings of its investigation of the Title IX certification process.

Woodruff’s appointment was approved unanimously by trustees and supported by faculty. Woodruff enters the interim presidency amid her own clash with the board for allegedly interfering in academic management by launching an investigation into the resignation of former business school dean Sanjay Gupta, whom Woodruff asked to step down. Gupta allegedly failed to report an instance of a business school employee touching a student inappropriately, leading to his ouster. Woodruff defended her decision and pushed back on the board’s decision to open up an investigation into the Gupta resignation.

“Among President Stanley’s accomplishments was recruiting and forming an exceptional leadership team, including Dr. Woodruff,” MSU board chair Dianne Byrum said in a press release. “Her vision for and understanding of MSU that has developed over the past two years—together with her strong commitment to the university’s educational mission and strategic plans—make her the right leader to shepherd the institution through this presidential transition.”

Woodruff’s appointment will become effective following Dr. Stanley’s departure. Though a timeline has not been specified, an MSU news release said it would be a “mutually agreed upon date.”

The appointment of an interim president comes on the heels of a board meeting Friday, in which some trustees expressed their distrust of one another and the course of action that led to Dr. Stanley’s departure, while others dug in and broadly accused faculty of sexual misconduct.

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