Michigan State board of trustees hold meeting following calls for president to resign
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State's board of trustees is meeting Friday morning to "discuss matters related to the Nassar investigation," a university spokesman said.
The meeting comes in the wake of calls for university president Lou Anna Simon to step down, as she has been widely criticized this week for both her and the school's response to former Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar's serial sexual abuse. Calls for her ouster grew louder this week during a sentencing hearing in Lansing for Nassar's crimes.
Prior to the meeting, the board of trustees filed a letter asking Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette to review the Nassar case.
"Although we have confidence in the integrity of the various reviews already conducted by law enforcement, subject matter experts, and outside counsel to the university," the letter states, "we are making this request because we believe your review may be needed to answer the public's questions concerning MSU's handling of the Nassar situation."
The letter states that only a review by Schuette can resolve questions in a way "that the victims, their families, and the public will deem satisfactory and that will help all those affected by Nassar's horrible crimes to heal.''
Simon also released a statement Friday addressing her reaction to the numerous victim-impact statements that have been delivered both in person and in writing this week, while endorsing an attorney general review.
"The testimony of Nassar's victims this week made many of us, including me, listen to the survivors and the community in a different way," Simon said. "It is clear to the Board and me that a review by the Attorney General's Office can provide the answers people need. As I told the Attorney General in December, MSU will fully cooperate with any inquiry by law enforcement authorities. I hope this review will help the survivors and the entire MSU community heal and move forward."
Attorney John Manly, who is representing many of Nassar's victims, called Michigan State's request a case of "too little, too late."
"MSU until now has fiercely resisted all calls of Nassar's victims, victim advocates political leaders and the press for the sunshine of an independent investigation," Manly said in a statement. "The only reason Ms. Simon asked for one today is because MSU's culpability has been exposed. If the leadership of MSU had any decency they would resign as a sign of contrition for their misdeeds."
Schuette said Friday that any review would not begin until after the victims have completed their statements.
"I'm not going to upstage the victims," Schuette told WJR radio in Detroit. "A review, a report and recommendations will be made so this doesn't happen again."
Two state politicians who represent the East Lansing area added their names Thursday to the list of legislators and political candidates calling on Simon to resign. Michigan State's student newspaper also published a lengthy editorial telling the president that the university wouldn't be able to move on from the ugly situation created by Nassar until she was gone.
A Michigan State spokesman said Thursday that the board members were aware of the comments but that the board "continues to support the president."
Simon has served as Michigan State's president since 2005.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.