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25 Jan

President Simon announces resignation from MSU (Jan. 24, 2018)

President Simon announces resignation from MSU (Jan. 24, 2018)

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The resignation letter is  an attorney-vetted non-apology statement of regret. The comments by Joel Ferguson, the trustee, about “that Nassar thing” are even obscene , and reveals the true nature of the MSU board. In that singular phrase he dismisses the horror endured by these young girls and women as nothing more than an annoyance, something to be flicked from his pinky finger and soon forgotten.

Even a trustee of MSU said that the school had more important things to deal with than this scandal. Judging by the national focus and continuing fallout, this should be the number one issue for MSU. And as a state school, I wonder – if MSU doesn’t take appropriate action to punish those who where complicit in this scandal, perhaps the Michigan state legislature will.

I applaud the courage and bravery of the 160 survivors of this monster’s unchecked and sanctioned abuse, whose voices have now been heard around the world and who, I hope,  were able to leave some of their pain at the door of the courtroom.

I have  profound disgust for former president Simon, the entire MSU Board of Trustees, and every MSU athletic coach or director who either remained silent or publicly voiced his or her continued support for Ms. Simon and the Board throughout the course of Nassar’s prosecution and sentencing hearing. There has been an utter dearth of moral courage on display by individuals in leadership positions both at MSU and at the state level.

True character is almost always tested in the face of complete adversity and you have all failed spectacularly. And, Governor Snyder, you have the constitutional authority to begin removal proceedings of every member of the MSU Board of Trustees, all of whom are elected public officers. Not initiating removal proceedings under these circumstances is an abdication on your part (which I expect from you due to your lack of decency) that the voting public should not, but undoubtedly will, have to wait to correct.

The McGlynn

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President Simon’s resignation letter

Members of the Board of Trustees:

The last year and a half has been very difficult for the victims of Larry Nassar, for the university community, and for me personally.  To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.  I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere.

As you and many in the Spartan family know, I planned to retire in December 2016, and we had begun a conversation about a smooth transition.  Then the Indianapolis Star article appeared about USAG and one of the victims contacted MSU police to file a complaint.  The MSU Police investigation commenced.  Nassar’s employment was terminated shortly thereafter.  Work began within the HealthTeam and other areas of the university to improve safety.  Given the challenges, my transition was postponed.  I appreciate the support you provided.

The survivors’ accounts are horrific.  They are tragic, heartbreaking, and personally gut-wrenching.  I take solace that many victims have indicated that the opportunity to confront Nassar is a step toward healing.  I am proud of the exceptional work of the Special Victims Unit led by Lieutenant Andrea Munford with the steadfast leadership of Chief Dunlap.  I am proud of my support of their work even though the results have been very painful to all who watched.

As Nassar’s legal journey to prison was drawing to a close, more and more negative attention was focused on Michigan State University, and on me.  I am pleased that statements have been made by Mr. Fitzgerald and Board members about my integrity and the fact that there is no cover-up.  I support wholeheartedly the Board’s decision to ask the Attorney General’s Office to review the events surrounding the Nassar matter.  This is an important step toward providing more assurance to the university community and to the public.  In the past, I have provided assurances to the Attorney General of my full cooperation, and I will continue to do so.

As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable.  As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger.  I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements.   Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first.  Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU.  I have tried to make it not about me.  I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now.  Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a principled person.  I have spent my entire professional career, more than 40 years, at MSU.  I love this place.  I have watched it grow and prosper, and it has been the honor and privilege of my life to serve as its president since 2005, and over the last few years, to have the opportunity to work with all of you toward our shared goals for MSU. I will continue to do whatever I can to help MSU prosper in the future as a Spartan in whatever role I may play.

Respectfully,

Lou Anna K. Simon, President
John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor

 

Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon Resigns Amid Nassar Fallout

Lou Anna Simon submitted her resignation as president of Michigan State University. Credit Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Lou Anna K. Simon, the president of Michigan State University, resigned under pressure Wednesday night over the way she handled a scandal involving a former university doctor accused of sexually abusing more than 150 young women.

“To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment,” said Dr. Simon in her resignation letter, which was posted on the university website.

The doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar, was sentenced on Wednesday for sexually abusing seven girls. His sentencing hearing included statements from dozens of his accusers over the past week.

Dr. Nassar was a member of the faculty at Michigan State for years and was the team physician for two female varsity squads. In her letter, Dr. Simon also denied a “cover-up” and blamed her resignation on outside pressure, adding, “As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger.”

The trustees’ chairman, Brian Breslin, said on the university’s website that the board “agreed it is now time for change.”

An investigation conducted for the university by Patrick Fitzgerald, a former United States attorney, found no knowledge among university administrators of Dr. Nassar’s malfeasance before a newspaper report in August 2016. The Detroit News has reported that at least 14 university representatives had been made aware of allegations against Dr. Nassar and that Dr. Simon knew of a Title IX investigation against an unnamed sports medicine doctor in 2014. The Lansing State Journal cited public records to show he continued to see patients at Michigan State for 16 months after the university police began a criminal investigation.

U.S.A. Gymnastics disclosed in September 2016, in response to an article by The Indianapolis Star that first brought abuse allegations against Dr. Nassar to public light, that Dr. Nassar had been relieved in the summer of 2015 after two gymnasts accused him of abuse.

At Michigan State, Dr. Nassar was not reassigned from clinical duties until August 2016, after the Star article, and he was fired later that year.

A Michigan State spokesman said the university had no further comment Wednesday night.

The case was pushed further into the national spotlight over the past week, with the extraordinary spectacle of more than 150 women, including several Olympic gymnasts who are household names, confronting Dr. Nassar face-to-face in the state court where he was sentenced Wednesday to up to 175 years in prison, in addition to the 60 he received in federal court for child pornography charges in December.

The public calls for Dr. Simon to resign began to escalate on Dec. 3, when The Lansing State Journal wrote in an editorial that she and the university had not protected women from assault and harassment on campus, and that she should step down.

While Michigan State’s board of trustees late last week unanimously backed Dr. Simon, who earned a Ph.D in higher education from the school in 1974 and has served as president since 2005, one trustee soon dissented, and a second said she supported Dr. Simon’s departure hours before the resignation.

In recent days, the state’s two U.S. senators, the state House of Representatives and the university’s newspaper all called on her to resign.

Lindsey Lemke, who said Dr. Nassar abused her when she was a member of Michigan State’s gymnastics team, told a local newspaper last week that she believed Dr. Simon was unfairly escaping blame, saying, “I feel she’s trying to manipulate us, make us feel that she’s not responsible when she is responsible, 100 percent, as president of the university.”

Dr. Simon was criticized for appearing at just one day of Dr. Nassar’s multiday sentencing. Meanwhile, the board’s vice chair engendered outrage for dismissing calls for her to resign over “that Nassar thing.”

Dr. Simon’s departure ends a career at Michigan State that spanned more than four decades, in which she rose to become the first woman president of one of the country’s largest universities, which bills itself as the model of the federal land-grant university envisioned in a law signed by Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Simon became president at a difficult time. The university was starting a billion-dollar capital campaign and expanding its reach in the state, opening a medical school in Grand Rapids. Within a few years, the economy fell into a recession and the cost of student tuition at Michigan State and elsewhere climbed unabated.

Amid financial straits, Dr. Simon won over members on the university’s board of trustees and its students when she declined a pay raise in 2008. That year, her salary was $520,000. It is now $750,000, one of the highest among public university presidents.

State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., who had called last week for Dr. Simon’s departure, said the tipping point appeared to be pressure from the faculty. Mr. Hertel, an alumnus whose district includes the campus, said she should have taken more decisive action when she learned a physician was the subject of a Title IX investigation in 2014.

“We need someone who is going to change the culture of the university,” he said.

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One Response to “President Simon announces resignation from MSU (Jan. 24, 2018)”

  1. 1
    George Hastings Says:

    Amen!

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