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MSU’s Engler says campus sex abuse bills could drive up tuition

Former Governor John Engler

Michigan State University interim President John Engler scolded lawmakers today over bills that would make it easier for sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits.

He says the debate is affecting settlement negotiations with victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Engler appeared before a Senate universities budget subcommittee. He told the committee chair the bills could also drive up tuition. 

“Your legislation would certainly probably do that," he said. "I don’t know if it would force bankruptcy or not. I hope not.”

Engler says the bills were written to benefit out-of-state trial lawyers.

His comments did not sit well with state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton.

“I thought that was insulting to the victims out there," Schuitmaker said. "If you’ve talked to any of these victims, I think they are not bringing this as a result of California trial lawyers. Certainly I think every individual and victim out there deserves to be represented.” 

Engler says he hopes to have a legal settlement with Nassar survivors wrapped up by MSU’s summer break.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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