On Wednesday, Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley announced he will be stepping down from his post on Friday, two months earlier than he originally planned.
“One of the greatest privileges of my career, serving as the president of Michigan State University, will draw to a close Friday,” wrote Stanley in a letter to the campus community. “It has been an eventful three years since my arrival. Thanks to the commitment of our dedicated community of students, faculty, academic staff, support staff and alums, we safely navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic, grew fundraising records and developed three strategic plans that will serve as blueprints for the future.”
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Teresa K. Woodruff will fill in as interim president while the search for the university’s next president continues.
“I will, of course, remain available to Teresa and university leaders in the coming months to support the leadership transition in any way I can,” Stanley wrote.
Stanley first announced his resignation on Oct. 13 due to his lack of confidence in the East Lansing school’s board of trustees, according to a video from the university. “But I, like the Michigan State University Faculty Senate, and the Associated Students of Michigan State University, have lost confidence in the action of the current Board of Trustees,” he said. “And I cannot in good conscience continue to serve this board as constituted.”
In recent months, Stanley and the board of trustees have struggled to come to terms over Title IX compliance-related issues and the resignation of the business school dean.
“The actions of the campus over the past months 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 a statement released soon after his resignation announcement, trustees said he took the role during a tough time for the university.
“President Stanley arrived at a difficult time and provided steady leadership to guide us forward while the entire world was experiencing severe disruption and uncertainty,” the statement reads.
Stanley is the fourth president to serve the university in six years since the scandal emerged that the now-incarcerated Larry Nassar sexually assaulted women for decades, The Detroit News reported.
“Thank you, students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and friends, for the opportunity to be your president,” Stanley concluded in his letter to the university. “The positive impact that MSU has on our region, state, country and the entire world is truly remarkable, and you have my deepest admiration for the work you do every day to make that happen.
“I will carry MSU with me wherever I go.”