Legislative Leaders Call for MSU President’s Resignation

A call for Lou Anna Simon’s resignation comes the day after a report claims 14 MSU officials knew of abuse by Larry Nassar dating back to 1997.

Legislative Leaders Call for MSU President’s Resignation

A statement from legislators says the senate has "lost confidence" in Simon's abilities to lead the university.

Legislative leaders are calling for the resignation of Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon as disgraced former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar enters the fourth day of his sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, House Minority Leader Sam Singh and Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. called for Simon’s resignation or removal Thursday. House Speaker Tom Leonard had previously called for Simon’s dismissal, reports Michigan Radio.

Two candidates for statewide office have also called for Simon’s resignation

In a joint statement, the Senate leaders said, “In light of recent news, it is clear that the Michigan State University Board of Trustees should act swiftly to remove President Simon from her position at MSU.  The Senate has lost confidence in President Simon’s ability to lead one of our state’s finest universities. The MSU community deserves better from its leadership.”

MSU reportedly continued to let Nassar see patients during a 16-month police probe into sexual assault allegations against him. At least a dozen alleged victims told university police investigators that he had sexually assaulted them during the timeframe of the probe.

More than 140 women and girls claim Nassar sexually abused them during his longstanding career.

Singh and Hertel also released a joint statement, stating, “It is clear that a lack of leadership amongst Michigan State University’s highest ranks allowed victims to suffer in silence for far too long.”

Report: 14 MSU Officials Knew of the Abuse, Some Dating Back 20 Years

The call for Simon’s resignation comes following the release of an investigative report by Detroit News, which claims Michigan State officials were aware of the accusations against Nassar as early as 1997.

The investigation found at least eight women reported Nassar’s actions to 14 officials in the two decades before his arrest.

In 2014, Simon says she was informed that a Title IX complaint and a police report had been filed against an unnamed physician.

“I was informed that a sports medicine doctor was under investigation,” said Simon, who made the comments in court Wednesday at Nassar’s sentencing hearing. “I told people to play it straight up, and I did not receive a copy of the report. That’s the truth.”

The other officials who were allegedly made aware of the abuse were athletic trainers, assistant coaches, a university police detective and an official who is now MSU’s assistant general counsel. The investigation found they missed multiple opportunities over a twenty year period to stop Nassar.

Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, who was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of molesting her back in September 2016, says MSU officials need to be held accountable for Nassar’s crimes.

“A monster was stopped last year, after decades of being allowed to prey on women and little girls, and he wasn’t stopped by a single person who could have, and should have stopped him at least 20 years ago,” said Denhollander. “He was stopped by the victims, who had to fight through being silenced, being threatened, being mocked, by the officials at MSU who they appealed to for help. And now the very people who should have been protecting us all along have thumbed their nose at any semblance of accountability.”

Six women with ties to the university told Detroit News that they complained to at least one person at MSU and a seventh woman outlined her report to MSU during sentencing. The eighth woman filed a complaint with the Meridian Township Police.

Nassar Abuse Allegation Date Back to 1997

The first person who is believed to have told someone at MSU about Nassar was Larissa Boyce.

In 1997, Boyce says she told then-head gymnastics coach Kathie Klages that Nassar had been digitally penetrating her during visits.

“She just couldn’t believe that was happening,” said Boyce, who is now 37. “She said I must be misunderstanding what was going on.”

Boyce says she felt intimidated and humiliated by Klages and recalled what she said to her about filing a complaint against Nassar.

“She said, ‘I can file this, but there are going to be serious consequences for you and Nassar.’ I said I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble.”

Klages reportedly told Nassar about Boyce’s allegations against him but no one else.

“Had I known she was such good friends with him, I would not have said anything,” said Boyce.

Klages was the women’s gymnastics coach for 27 seasons and retired in February.

There are currently 150 civil lawsuits filed against Nassar. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges and is facing 25 to 40 years for the sexual conduct charges.

So far, 68 women have given statements during Nassar’s sentencing hearing, according to WZZM 13. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted Nassar, says it expects 105 women and girls to give victim-impact statements.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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