LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Gretchen Whitmer, the former interim Ingham County Prosecutor and lawmaker, who is now running for governor, is calling on the MSU Board of Trustees to seek and accept the resignation of its president, Lou Anna K. Simon amid the Larry Nassar scandal.
Earlier this month, Whitmer joined calls for an independent investigation into MSU’s handling of Nassar.
In a letter, written to Chairman Brian Breslin, MSU Board of Trustees, Whitmer not only asked for the board to accept a resignation from Simon, but also echoed her previous call for a complete and thorough investigation into the Nassar crimes and “all other related offenses.”
“Only then will the public and our Spartan Nation be convinced that MSU is moving ahead in the best interest of Nassar victims and those who will write the future for MSU,” it says.
“In my opinion, these actions are in the best interest of the university, its students, faculty, our alumni and friends, as well as Michigan taxpayers,” the letter says. “Having represented East Lansing in the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan State Senate, I feel a special obligation to the people of Michigan and the friends and supporters of MSU.”
You can read the full letter below.
The former Senate Minority Leader spent several months last year serving as the interim Ingham County Prosecutor. She stepped in to fill the spot of former Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III following his resignation.
In addition to her role in politics over the years, Whitmer has been a strong advocate for women’s health, sharing her personal story of being sexually assaulted.
Nassar is the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor who has admitted to sexually abusing young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.
The plea only covered a few victims, but more than 140 women and girls say Nassar abused them and have filed a civil suit against MSU and USA Gymnastics.
Nassar was sentenced to 60 years behind bars earlier this month in the federal child pornography case against him.
“Every day we learn more about the scale and magnitude of the abuses that took place at the University over the course of many many years. That’s why I am now convinced Michigan State University needs to write a new chapter of compassion, openness, integrity and accountability,” the letter says. of dozens and dozens of young women being assaulted, harmed and abused. This is not just a court case of damages and financial responsibility. It is a matter of human suffering, the infliction of lifelong emotional trauma and University indifference.”
During its last Board of Trustees meeting of the year, as the calls for Simon to resign got louder, the trustees offered Simon a $150,000 raise. She declined and instead donated it to a scholarship fund.
Many victims of Nassar were at that meeting, three of them, along with one victim’s mother, spoke to the board for the first time since the Nassar scandal broke.
During that same meeting, MSU announced that it is going to set up a $10 million fund to help get counseling for victims of Nassar.
Earlier this month, after the Lansing State Journal published an editorial calling on Simon to resign, The Board of Trustees said it will continue to support Simon, saying it firmly believes she is the right leader for MSU.
“President Simon has proven her commitment to helping the university when it comes to the societal issue of sexual misconduct,” the board said. “She has the complete confidence of the Board of Trustees to lead the university in this and all endeavors.”
“In my opinion, the Board of Trustees must act. Only with change of top management can MSU begin to restore confidence that our great university conducts itself in a manner benefitting one of the world’s great public institutions,” the letter says.
“President Simon has accomplished many things. However, the excellence and spirit of Michigan State University is much, much bigger than any one individual or group of individuals. Failing to act now, is an affront to the thousands of alumni, students, faculty and friends of MSU throughout the world.”
“I know that the Board of Trustees can take action to restore integrity to our beloved MSU and deliver justice to Nassar victims. To do that though, I believe it requires new leadership at Michigan State University.”
Whitmer isn’t the only one to call on Simon to resign, Michigan House Speaker, Tom Leonard R-DeWitt, called on Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon to resign in response to the university’s handling of the Larry Nassar scandal.
Leonard said he’s been following the case over the last several months. He’s also running for Michigan Attorney General.
In a Facebook post he wrote:
“Michigan State University – A doctor employed by your university for nearly 20 years is accused of sexually assaulting dozens of young women. He was just sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for possessing over 30,000 images of child pornography and pleading guilty to 10 sexual misconduct crimes,” he said. “You conduct an investigation but don’t even have the confidence in your findings, or the decency, to release a report? That is outrageous and absolutely reprehensible.”
A newly released police report from Michigan State University, shed some light on who, knew what, about any sexual assault allegation against former MSU doctor Larry Nassar.
MSU Police and the FBI interviewed eight university employees earlier this year to find out whether any procedures or guidelines were put into place for Larry Nassar after a woman raised concerns over her treatment, and if those procedures or guidelines were communicated and followed.
Many of witnesses told police that they were not made aware of any extra requirements or guidelines for Larry Nassar as a result of the 2014 investigation.
In fact, one MSU Sports Medicine doctor said he doesn’t recall ever learning about Nassar being suspended in 2014.
In addition to finding out if guidelines and procedures were communicated and followed; MSU Police and the FBI also looked into whether any criminal statues were violated by anyone other than Nassar.
An athletic trainer at Michigan State University who was interviewed by MSU and the FBI said no one ever told her they sexually were abused by Dr. Larry Nassar. That’s despite the claims of a former athlete who says she told the trainer about it.
Tiffany Lopez, who says she’s a victim of Nassar, says she raised concerns about Nassar’s treatment to Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, an MSU trainer, while at MSU.