MSU President Offered Raise Amid Larry Nassar Scandal
MSU President Lou Anna Simon faced criticism at a Board of Regents meeting after victims were outraged she was offered a raise amid the Nassar scandal.
Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon was offered a $150,000 raise on Friday, drawing criticism from many as the school faces backlash regarding its handling of reported sexual assaults by former campus doctor Larry Nassar.
Simon rejected the raise, stating she will donate that money to a scholarship fund in her and her husband’s name.
Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics team physician and longtime sports medicine director at MSU, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on December 7 for three federal pornography charges.
Nassar was arrested last November and is accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls during his longstanding career. The child pornography charges were added in December.
A total of 125 women and girls went to the MSU Police Department to report criminal behavior by Nassar, according to MLive.
In November, three alleged victims called for a new investigation into the school’s mishandling of reported sexual assaults.
The women say the school could have prevented over 100 women and girls from being abused by Nassar if they hadn’t ignored previous reports of abuse dating back to 1997.
Victims, Families Outraged at Proposed Raise
The raise was declined by Simon at a Board of Regents meeting on Friday which was attended by several victims, according to the Kaplan Herald.
“Without your voices and your courage, Nassar wouldn’t be behind bars,” Simon said at the meeting to the victims. “I’m truly sorry. I’m sorry a physician who called himself a Spartan so utterly betrayed your trust and everything we stand for.”
Victims and their families spoke as well, indicating they were unhappy with Simon’s apology and the board’s consideration of a pay increase when they have been left with so many unanswered questions.
“I understand that you entered a motion today to give her a raise. I find the timing of that insulting,” said Lisa Lorincz, mother of victim Kaylee Lorincz. “These victims keep getting insulted over and over and over again.”
Kaylee Lorincz, 18, says Nassar sexually assaulted her with his hands when she went to him for back pain at age 11.
“Today’s apology is not enough and it comes too late. Many of the administrators, coaches and trainers still hold their positions and continue to deny responsibility for his actions,” said Kaylee.
Attorney General Bill Schuette had previously asked for results of an earlier internal investigation that was conducted by the university but was told the review found no employee “knowingly assisted or concealed” the criminal conduct of Nassar and that there was no physical report available.
The school says its investigation was done to keep university leaders and legal authorities informed and was never intended to be released to the public.
Jessica Smith, 23, who also spoke at the meeting and identified herself as a victim of Nassar’s, said she did not understand how the school could complete its own investigation without speaking to the victims.
“I find it baffling that at 23, I have to say this to a group of adults,” said Smith. “He admitted his guilt. We are no longer accusers — we are victims and survivors of this abuse.”
The 125 women and girls who filed reports of abuse to MSU police will have the opportunity to speak at Nassar’s sentencing on January 12, according to Click on Detroit.
Simon was the twelfth highest paid public university executive in the U.S. in 2015, making $860,198 that year. She has been the university president since 2004.
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