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Anticipating more bad Nassar news, MSU president pens letter to lawmakers

MSU President Lou Anna Simon
Bike Ann Arbor
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon wanted to “personally” provide state lawmakers an overview of how the public institution is responding to the “issues surrounding the terrible crimes committed by former MSU physician Larry Nassar."

On January 10, the week before Nassar is sentenced for sexual abuse, Simon wrote that she wanted to give lawmakers a heads up that they “will likely continue to hear a variety of allegations and accusations against the university.”

“I simply ask that you understand that MSU cannot litigate the cases in the media, and that many public assertions may go unchallenged unless or until they are addressed in open court,” Simon wrote in a letter to state lawmakers obtained by Michigan Radio.  

“We have faced accusations that we are not being transparent and, worse, that we are engaging in a cover-up of the events surrounding Nassar’s crimes. The accusations are untrue,” Simon wrote.

Simon outlines when and where victim impact proceedings will take place this month before turning her focus on the outstanding civil lawsuits against MSU, which she says are in the “early stages.”

“As (the civil cases) move forward, I hope you will keep a few important points in mind.” Simon writes.

“First, MSU is entitled to, and its insurers expect, that we will mount a vigorous defense of these cases unless a reasonable settlement can be obtained.”

Lawyers defending MSU’s liability is “nothing extraordinary” and typical, she wrote.

“At the same time, I well understand that given Nassar’s horrendous acts, it will be easy to portray these arguments as disrespectful to the victims. Please know that the defense raised on MSU’s behalf are in no way a reflection of our view of the victim, for whom we have the utmost respect and sympathy, but rather represent, as the Board has said, our desire ‘to protect MSU’s education and research missions.'"

In the letter, Simon noted that Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal court “the first of what I hope will be several lengthy prison sentences.”

Simon thanks the “FBI, the U.S. Attorney, the Michigan Attorney General, and our university police for their hard work and dedication in bringing Nassar to justice.”

She also highlights MSU’s efforts to support victims, create the “safest campus environment possible” and to “prevent something like this from ever happening again.”

State lawmakers received the letter, but it’s apparently not helped her case with them.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich joined state House Minority Leader Sam Singh and Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. in calling for Simon's resignation Thursday. House Speaker Tom Leonard had earlier called for Simon's dismissal.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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