The president of Michigan State University has stepped down in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse scandal.
Lou Ann Simon was once elected to serve as the chair of the NCAA’s executive committee to rectify the damage done by the Penn State child sex abuse case. On Wednesday, Lou Ann Simon resigned from her position as the president of Michigan State University as a result of her alleged failure to act on reports that faculty member Larry Nassar was sexually abusing children.
Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison on Wednesday for the over 100 assaults that he committed against young female gymnasts. Some of the gymnasts affected by Nassar’s abuse claim that they had reported his conduct to Michigan State University as early as the late 1990s.
“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,” Simon wrote in a statement. “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.”
“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,” she continued. “I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere.”
Tom Leonard, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Michigan, applauded Lou Anna Simon for stepping down. He condemned their inaction in properly dealing with the complaints against Nassar.
“I am glad Lou Anna Simon finally did the right thing. The university’s response to this crisis simply hasn’t been good enough, and I hope that changes going forward for the sake of both the victims and the entire Michigan State University community,” Leonard said.
Olivia Cowan, one of Nassar’s many victims, said that Michigan State’s apology was insufficient.
“A public apology after you’ve hid behind this monster for over 20 years will never be enough. Where were you when we needed you?” Cowan recently told the court. “If you would have only listened to the women that brought complaints and concerns over all these years, this would have saved so many women and children from being abused, and from all the scars this has created.”
Larissa Boyce, another of Nassar’s victims, said in a statement that she told Michigan State about Nassar’s abuse in 1997. Michigan State University had a private record of complaints against Nassar and chose inaction.
“I told Michigan State University back in 1997,” Boyce said. “Instead of being protected, I was humiliated. I was in trouble and brainwashed into believing that I was the problem.”
Simon announced that she would help start a $10 million fund to help the victims of Nassar’s abuse receive the counseling and mental health treatment services that they may need.