MSU President Lou Anna Simon should step down

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 1/22/18 2:25am

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Following the emotional impact statements given by the victim survivors of Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, widespread calls have been made for MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon to step down.

Publications like The State News, the Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News have called for Simon's resignation following the Nassar scandal, in which officials at MSU, including Simon, knew about Nassar's sexual abuse of underage girls for more than 20 years. 

After viewing the impact statements and the in-depth investigations conducted by various outlets, the Grand Valley Lanthorn is also calling for Simon's resignation.

Simon was the head of a culture of enablement for Nassar at MSU. She failed in her responsibility to maintain the safety of those who trusted her the most, and therefore has lost the confidence of the community. Her removal is among the steps necessary for victim survivors to begin to move on with their lives, even after the horrific acts committed against them.

As the pressure for Simon to step down increases, only one of eight trustees has spoken out to call for the current president's resignation: Mitch Lyons. 

In a statement issued Saturday, Jan. 20, Lyons said, "I have been very troubled since yesterday's board announcement. 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."

This change is noteworthy because the board's decision was originally made to appear unanimous. The other seven trustees are still unwaveringly lending their support to Simon—a move that has the public crying out even louder for a change. 

More than 140 women have alleged that Nassar abused them, and around 90 victims have testified in court this week at his sentencing hearing, according to the Detroit Free Press. 

Many of these victims have spoken out calling for Simon's resignation, too, and these are voices that deserve to be represented. Having Simon stay on is preventing a change that desperately needs to happen for the university and beyond. 

While this decision impacts the MSU population directly, students from other universities are looking at this case carefully, too. Grand Valley State University in particular prides itself on creating a safe environment for students, and the university has crafted many initiatives to ensure students' mental and physical well-being. MSU is currently making moves that go against the needs of its student population—and the general public—with little remorse. The administration there is setting a really good example of what not to do. 

Simon, and the other enablers involved, need to step down to begin the reparation needed at MSU. The school has always been a respected institution, but in order to maintain that respect, Simon needs to take the initiative and step down. 

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