The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Engler out at Michigan State

Jan 21, 2019

John Engler, interim president of Michigan State University (MSU), resigned on January 16, right before an MSU Board meeting to fire him.

The MSU student newspaper rightly asked, “What took so long to get Engler out of office?”

A year ago, Engler, a well-hated former governor, was unanimously appointed interim president. The MSU Board hoped that Engler would finesse the scandal around Dr. Larry Nassar, the MSU gymnastic team doctor who sexually abused over 300 young women athletes under his care over the years.

For the past year, dozens of abuse survivors, together with MSU students and faculty, packed every Board meeting, vehemently protesting Engler’s appointment and the Board’s attempts to sweep the scandal under the rug.

Even as late as the Board meeting on January 9, 2019, the Board—now with Democrats in charge—stood by Engler. But only for 2 days! On January 11, Engler gave the Detroit News interview that would be his last act. He said that survivors who stood up publicly were “ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that.”

Outrageous! Larry Nassar would have NEVER been stopped without the bravery of the many women who roared in the public spotlight. The MSU Board had to cave in.

Rachel Denhollander, the first to go public about sexual abuse at the hands of Dr. Nassar, said of Engler’s comments, “His perception is that sexual assault survivors speak up because they want money and fame. This is the last thing anybody wants to be famous for.”

In fact, Engler was accusing others of what he was guilty of—being focused on money.

In this society ruled by the owners of Capital, money is the top priority—valued more highly than people.

Engler was put in office by the MSU board to prevent the hemorrhaging of money. Engler was able to use his reputation as a well-connected bully to stop all talk in the legislature of cutting MSU’s money. Engler negotiated a 500-million-dollar financial settlement with survivors.

This former governor of Michigan has long been hated—for good reason. He destroyed mental health care in Michigan, he eliminated pensions for new state workers, and he fought against a lawsuit brought by women raped in Michigan’s prisons.

Engler has been willing to do whatever the wealthy owning class of society needed from him, brutally. He represents their money-focused point of view and their disgusting prejudices. Now that he is gone, good riddance to bad rubbish!