Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Resigns

The university's board of trustees has been pressuring Stanley to resign over his handling of Title IX-reporting issues.
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Updated on October 4, 2023
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  • Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley announced his resignation Thursday in a YouTube video.
  • Stanley said he had lost confidence in the university's board of trustees.
  • Student and faculty governance groups recently passed no confidence votes in the board of trustees.

Michigan State University (MSU) President Samuel L. Stanley resigned Thursday following a monthlong battle with the university’s board of trustees over Title IX issues.

In a YouTube video announcing his resignation, Stanley said he has lost confidence in MSU's Board of Trustees, which comprises eight publicly elected members.

"I cannot, in good conscience, continue to serve this board as constituted," Stanley said in the video.

Stanley’s future at the university has been uncertain since early last month, when The Detroit Free Press reported that the board had given him two days to resign or face the possibility of being fired. Trustees reportedly disapproved of Stanley's handling of Title IX-reporting issues surrounding the resignation of Sanjay Gupta, former dean of the business school.

As the standoff played out, Stanley received support from faculty and students.

The Michigan State Faculty Senate on Oct. 11 passed a vote of no confidence in the board of trustees, writing that its members “have compounded their intransigence, intimidating faculty administrators through a retained law firm investigating the resignation of Sanjay Gupta which is both outside of the Board’s administrative purview and a violation of their Code of Ethics.”

The vote followed a Sept. 19 letter to the board in which 94 prominent professors expressed their "wholehearted support for President Stanley's leadership of our institution."

The Associated Students of Michigan State University likewise declared it had no confidence in the board following an Oct. 6 vote, according to The State News, MSU's independent, student-run newspaper.

"The actions of the campus over the past month have shown the world that Michigan State University will not accept micromanagement by board members of the operations of this great institution, and that we will hold individuals, no matter what their rank, accountable for their actions," Stanley said in his resignation announcement.

The board of trustees was far from unified over Stanley’s future, according to the Lansing State Journal. Board Chair Dianne Byrum, a Democrat, reportedly condemned the attempt to oust Stanley, and board member Melanie Foster, a Republican, reportedly supported Stanley.

Stanley was hired by MSU's Board of Trustees in May 2019 and signed a new contract last fall, according to the Lansing State Journal. His resignation will take effect in 90 days.