Michigan State faculty vote no confidence in trustees, in wake of Nassar scandal

Faculty at Michigan State University issued an emphatic vote of no confidence in the board of trustees Tuesday afternoon in the wake of a sex abuse scandal that rocked the school.

At an emergency meeting, the Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly – 61 to 4 – that it lacked confidence in the trustees, with results greeted by loud applause. The public university has been in turmoil since scores of young women accused an MSU sports medicine doctor of molesting them.

The faculty cannot force board members out. But with a vote of no confidence, the impact is immediate and deep, said Sean McKinniss, who is co-writing a book on academic governance: a loss of legitimacy for both the board and the interim president whose appointment triggered the faculty vote.

“Unless you take a moral stand, you give tacit agreement by your silence,” Robert LaDuca, a professor of chemistry who is a faculty leader, said before the meeting. “The board has been leading from behind, in my opinion, in this whole process.” He compared the university to a corporation that has had a catastrophic failure and needs new leaders to move the organization forward, “rather than the entrenched and, to be honest, myopic leadership that got us into this crisis and damaged untold numbers of lives.