One day after the Michigan State University Board of Trustees gave MSU President Lou Anna Simon a vote of confidence, one board member is breaking ranks.
Trustee Mitch Lyons issued a statement Saturday evening to several media outlets calling for Simon to resign and said he disagreed with the board's action.
"I have been very troubled since yesterday's board announcement," Lyons said in the statement. "I do not agree with our statement of support for Pres. Simon. As I expressed repeatedly to fellow board members during our discussion Friday, I don't believe Pres. Simon can survive the public outcry that has been generated by this tragedy and even less so after hearing the testimony of these brave survivors of Larry Nassar's abuse.
"I believe our best recourse is for President Simon to resign immediately in order to let the healing process begin, first and foremost for the survivors and secondarily for our university."
"I believe that without question, the public has lost confidence in Dr. Simon to effectively lead this university and I believe this loss of confidence is irreparable.
"This board has prided itself on presenting itself as a unified board over the years, even when we had disagreements. However, on this issue I strongly disagree and, while I am only one voice on this board, I can't in good conscience remain silent on this issue.
"Lastly, before people question whether I'm doing this for political gain given that my term ends the end of this year, I have no intention of running for re-election in November of 2018."
He went on to say the board has not been presented with any evidence Simon knew of Nassar assaults until 2016.
Lyons statement was cheered by MSU student body president Lorenzo Santavicca
"I am shocked that Trustee Lyons made the move, but it is reassuring to know that the Board truly isn’t as unified as they seem. As mentioned by Lyons in his comments, institutional accountability has been compromised. Students have lost trust in this Board and administration and hope that more will follow.
On Friday, the board met behind closed doors and then came out to issue a statement to the public. The entire board, including Lyons, stood together.
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. Nassar has pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault, all but one related to the abuse of a patient, but more than 140 women and girls have alleged that he abused him.
About 90 victims have testified in court this week about Nassar's toll on their lives. Many have castigated MSU for their lack of response to complaints about Nassar.
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