Faculty, students, alums call for transparency over dean resignation at Michigan State University

‘How can you, as board members, pretend nothing is wrong’

EAST LANSING, Mich. – New outrage over an ongoing controversy at Michigan State University has students, faculty, and donors calling for the release of a new report about why the well-liked head of the business school was ousted earlier this year.

The school board brought in an outside law firm to investigate the resignation of Sanjay Gupta.

MSU’s Board of Trustees was given the details of that report Thursday (Dec. 15) but reportedly told lawyers not to present it in writing, meaning there would be no paper trail for reporters or concerned Spartans to ask for. Those concerns were made known loud and clear on Friday.

Gupta was forced to resign in August after he failed to report a Title IX violation stemming from inappropriate behavior by two other staff members during a faculty party last spring.

He had also expressed a desire to become university president before leaving, and faculty members called his resignation mysterious, prompting an outside investigation.

During their meeting Friday, the board did not address what was in the report and has made it impossible to access through public records. The board was briefed by lawyers who conducted the outside investigation but did not keep documented records, thus exempting the report from public records requests.

“Honesty, accountability, and leadership to do what’s right,” said Michael Balow, a former candidate for the board of trustees. “Three Christmas wishes for all of you from me.”

“Any coverup of all the facts by the board will only result in the continuation of unethical behavior by those in charge and greater harm to the university,” said Nancy Vella, a donor and MSU alumni. “How can you, as board members, pretend nothing is wrong? Why don’t you strive for transparency and do the right thing?”

Vella also warned the board that she would be boycotting donations to the business school. She told trustees not to underestimate how serious alums are about seeing the report and how strong the support for Gupta remains.

Still, Interim President Teresa Woodruff praised the university’s work on Title IX protections.

“I am committed to building trust with our university communities around RVSM prevention work,” said Woodruff. “I want to thank MSU’s people for building a culture of support.”

The university is also expected to release the findings of a campus-wide survey.

About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.