Monday, January 29, 2018

Developing: Will Speaker Leonard Impeach The Michigan State Board Of Trustees?

Speaker Leonard (DarKen Photography)

By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At

As controversy rages at Michigan State University over the sexual assault scandal involving Dr. Larry Nassar, the spotlight is now on the MSU Board of Trustees after President Lou Anna K. Simon and Athletic Director Mark Hollis resigned late last week.

While Governor Snyder has the authority to remove the trustees, many believe the Governor is reluctant to use that power for a myriad of reasons. His office says he is considering doing something, but what that means is unclear.

Enter House Speaker Tom Leonard.

Leonard passed a resolution from State Rep. Tom Barrett last Thursday in the House that was extremely critical of MSU leadership, and subsequently, Simon and Hollis were gone within hours.

In media interviews about the controversy, Leonard has raised the possibility that the Trustees could be impeached by the House.

According to Kathy Gray the Detroit Free Press:

"Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt Township, said while the resolution dealt solely with Simon, he'd like to see the entire board resign or be impeached by the Legislature.

"I do believe the board of trustees needs to resign. I've never seen a situation that's been this mishandled," he said. "These trustees care more about their skyboxes in the fall than these 150 victims. And that's absolutely reprehensible."

So, what would that process look like? Here's what you need to know:

"Any member of (university) boards may be removed from office upon conviction in impeachment proceedings for the reasons and in the manner set forth in section 7 of article 11 of the state constitution," reads MCL 168.293

According to Article 11, Section 7 of the Michigan Constitution:

"The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching civil officers for corrupt conduct in office or for crimes or misdemeanors, but a majority of the members elected thereto and serving therein shall be necessary to direct an impeachment.

When an impeachment is directed, the house of representatives shall elect three of its members to prosecute the impeachment.

Every impeachment shall be tried by the senate immediately after the final adjournment of the legislature. The senators shall take an oath or affirmation truly and impartially to try and determine the impeachment according to the evidence. When the governor or lieutenant governor is tried, the chief justice of the supreme court shall preside.

No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators elected and serving. Judgment in case of conviction shall not extend further than removal from office, but the person convicted shall be liable to punishment according to law."

Who might Leonard appoint to prosecute the impeachment if he moves forward? State Rep. Jim Runestad and State Rep. Laura Cox seem like a great place to start, and Leonard gets to choose three... Perhaps State Rep. Tom Barrett as well?

Stay tuned!

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at

1 comment:

  1. The Trustees bigger issue is whether they will each face criminal charges for their failure to act.