Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation the same day ex-gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison.
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In her resignation letter, Simon said it is only natural that she is the focus of the public's anger.
Read the full letter below:
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.
Lou Anna K. Simon, President
John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor
Brian Breslin, chair of the MSU Board of Trustees, said the trustees agree that it is now time for change.
His full statement as follows:
"President Simon has offered her resignation to the Board of Trustees, and we will accept it. We agree with Dr. Simon that it is now time for change.
President Simon has served with distinction as MSU’s President for 13 years and has been a constant presence at the university for more than 40 years. She literally has devoted her entire professional life to this institution, and more than anyone else has helped make MSU a national and international leader in higher education.
We will be working through the details of transition with President Simon through the rest of the week and will announce them as soon as we can. Many are aware President Simon delayed returning to the faculty to lead through the challenges the university has been facing. We greatly appreciate her integrity, her many contributions, and her willingness to continue to serve through transition."
Many called for Simon's resignation, including senators, lawmakers and Nassar survivors.
Students have also been vocal about the need for President Simon to step down. 'The Rock' on campus is painted with this message: TIMES UP CHANGE LOU ANNA.
"I don't know how we bounce back from this," said MSU freshman, Kevin Manzur.
The weeks of courtroom statements from the victims of Larry Nasser are weighing heavily on students.
"It's sad to know our school has a bad name and the only national news we've been making is all the cases against Larry Nasser," said sophomore, Olive Autrey.
Students who spoke with 7 Action News said the resignation is the right step.
"I feel like there needs to have a change, like how 'The Rock' says, I completely agree with it, time's up," said sophomore Jazmyn Bradford.
"I think it's exactly what all of the students here are feeling," said sophomore Kera Conroy.
Students want new leadership to help the university heal.
"Find new people that are looking toward a brighter future, I think that's the best thing we can ask for right now," said Manzur.
Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison on Wednesday after seven days of 150 victims delivering impact statements.
He worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
Multiple victims said they reported Nassar's abuse to university officials as early as 1997.