MSU Approves Bond for Nassar Survivor Settlement

Jun 22, 2018

Teal pinwheels adorn the lawn outside the Hannah Administration Building where the Board of Trustees meeting took place. Teal is the color of sexual assault survivors.
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan State University will issue a bond to pay for a half a billion dollar legal settlement. The school’s Board of Trustees voted in favor of the move Friday at a meeting.

Engler kicked off the meeting by reiterating his apology for emails that were made public last week. In them, Engler tells an aide that a Larry Nassar survivor might be getting a “kickback” by trial lawyers. Nassar is the former Michigan State University spokesperson who sexually assaulted his patients for years.

But an apology wasn’t good enough for Trustee Brian Mosallam. He asked that a vote for Engler’s termination be put on the agenda. But that failed.

Trustee Mitch Lyons said firing Engler would not help the school move forward as it looks for a new president because they need stability.

“Nobody in their right mind is walking into this hot mess right now,” he said. 

The board then voted unanimously to pay for a proposed settlement with more than 300 survivors of Nassar by issuing a bond. The board says the university won’t use money from tuition or the state, rather the money will be paid back mainly through insurance, investments and interest. The also approved a tuition rate freeze for the 2019-2020 academic year and move into a block tuition structure.

The board also approved a three-year contract for former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young.

“He should have a lifetime appointment, he’s a terrific talent,” said Engler.

Young will act as the Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel. He’ll be paid $425,000 per year. Young was brought on to help deal with the investigations into the school.

One of those investigations into the school is being done by a special prosecutor appointed by the state Attorney General. Letters made public through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that the special prosecutor, William Forsyth, and Young are currently in a dispute over whether the school needs to turn over certain documents. Forsyth says he needs those documents to fully investigate what the school knew about Nassar, but Young says they’re protected by attorney-client privilege.