Lou Anna Simon will stay as president of Michigan State University despite increasing pressure for her to be fired. The school's board of trustees made the decision following a four-hour closed door meeting Friday.
“Through this terrible situation, the university has been perceived as tone deaf, unresponsive and insensitive to the victims," the statement from board chairman Brian Breslin on behalf of the full board said. "We understand the public’s faith has been shaken. The Board has listened and heard the victims.
"Today, the Board acted and has asked the Attorney General’s Office to review the facts in this matter, and as information is presented, the Board will act.
"This can never happen again.
"As part of the Board’s oversight authority, we will retain independent external assistance to support our responsibilities to the university community and the public at large.
"We continue to believe President Simon is the right leader for the university and she has our support.”
There has been a tidal wave of calls for Simon to be fired for handling of the Larry Nassar matter.
"I continue to appreciate the confidence of the Board and the many people who have reached out to me, and to them, who have the best interested of MSU at heart," Simon said in a statement following the board's satatement. "I have always done my best to lead MSU and I will continue to do so today and tomorrow.”
Late Thursday night, the MSU student government unanimously approved a resolution calling for change at the "highest level" of MSU.
Asked if that meant Lou Anna Simon, student body president Lorenzo Santavicca told the Free Press that interpretation was accurate.
State Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, and state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-Meridian Township, issued a joint statement Thursday calling on MSU President Lou Anna Simon to step down over her administration's handling of accusations against Nassar, who has pleaded guilty to sexual assault and child pornography charges.
“It is clear that a lack of leadership amongst Michigan State University’s highest ranks allowed victims to suffer in silence for far too long," the pair said in their statement. "We owe it to every survivor who had to endure this horrific torture to not only bring justice to the perpetrator, but also ensure that changes are made at the university to prevent this from ever happening again."
Shortly after Singh and Hertel's statement, state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, issued their own statement.
“In light of recent news, it is clear that the Michigan State University Board of Trustees should act swiftly to remove President Simon from her position at MSU," the senators said. "The Senate has lost confidence in President Simon’s ability to lead one of our state’s finest universities. The MSU community deserves better from its leadership.”
Also on Thursday, MSU's independent student newspaper called on Simon to resign in a blunt, front-page editorial. The State Journal's editorial board called for Simon's resignation in a front-page editorial in December.
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