EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon’s resignation was being welcomed Wednesday in the state legislature, where pressure had been building for her to step down or be ousted by the university’s board of trustees.
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., a Democrat from East Lansing, where the campus is located, called it “an important step in moving the university forward.” He says a culture needs to be created at Michigan State “where survivors are listened to and believed.”
Simon announced her resignation Wednesday night in the wake of the scandal involving Larry Nassar, who worked at Michigan State as a doctor.
Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young girls and women under the guise of medical treatment. Many of the victims accused the university of mishandling past complaints about Nassar.
Hertel, a Michigan State graduate, says Simon’s “actions did not meet the leadership that we need at Michigan State” and that further investigating needs to be done to determine who “had reports and didn’t act” beyond the president’s office.
Simon, who earned her doctorate at Michigan State in 1974, was promoted to school president in 2005.
Dianne Byrum was the second of the university’s eight trustees to support the resignation. She said in a statement that it is “clear that the public has lost confidence” in Michigan State’s administration, and “changes are needed to move the university forward.”
Byrum also says she is “disgusted” by comments from fellow trustee Joel Ferguson, who apologized Tuesday for saying there is a lot more going on at the university than “this Nassar thing.”
The state House approved a nonbinding measure that called for Simon’s job hours after Nassar was sentenced, saying legislators have “lost confidence” in Simon’s ability to lead a transparent investigation, to implement changes, to protect students and to lead the university. Her resignation is effective Thursday, Jan. 25.
— Associated Press