EAST LANSING, MICH. - Members of the Michigan State University women's rowing team said they didn't get many answers about disgraced doctor Larry Nassar and what the university will do to protect students moving forward during a meeting with several MSU trustees on Monday afternoon.
But they left the meeting optimistic that their voices will be heard.
"I felt like we started a good dialogue," said senior Nicole Marek, a team member from Grosse Ile. "But for change, much work still remains."
Nassar, the former MSU doctor, is serving a 60-year federal sentence for child pornography. He also received 40 to 175 years in state prison last week for sexually assaulting young women and girls during purported medical procedures. He faces sentencing on sexual assault charges in Eaton County beginning Wednesday.
Nassar also was a doctor for the women's rowing team from 1998 to 2016, Marek said.
"Many women, including myself, were patients of his," she said. "We have teammates who are victims of his abuse, and it's not right that he was employed at that time."
On Monday afternoon, about 50 varsity women rowers walked from Jenison Field House to the Hannah Administration Building to meet with board members. Trustees Diane Byrum, Melanie Foster, Dan Kelly and Brian Mosallam were there, along with acting MSU President Bill Beekman, Marek said.
Marek said the group wanted to "fight for safety for all" and to "hold the university accountable for its failure" to protect them, Marek said.
Board members said they didn't have many answers about the Nassar scandal but were open to suggestions about how the university can do things better, she said.
"The board is looking for suggestions from MSU organizations about what they can do to change the culture of the university, which I thought was helpful," she said.
The rowers compiled on a list of expectations, including their belief that any MSU employee who is subject to a criminal investigation should be suspended and kept away from students until the investigation is complete.
They also said the school needs to adopt and enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual misconduct "for all members of the Michigan State University community."
As for her own experiences with Nassar, Marek said she was uncomfortable being treated by him.
"My instincts told me there was something wrong," she said. "He would touch my thigh – some inappropriate touching – but there was an athletic trainer in the room, and it seemed borderline. But my instincts were right, and when this came out, I was shocked. I should have trusted my instincts sooner."
The rowers on Monday were supported by the men's crew team and the women's cross country and track teams, Marek said.
"It was really good to see that support," she said.
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