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After closed door meeting, MSU board expresses support for MSU president Simon as Nassar case swirls

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees held a closed door meeting Friday (Jan. 19). They looked at the school’s response to the Larry Nassar case.

Some Michigan lawmakers have been calling for the resignation of MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. This was a developing story. We added updates as they came in.

UPDATE: 2:53 p.m.

After meeting for more than four hours, MSU's Board of Trustees emerged saying they continue to believe in Simon's leadership at the University.

Here's the statement from Chairperson Brian Breslin on behalf of the Board of Trustees:

“Through this terrible situation, the university has been perceived as tone deaf, unresponsive and insensitive to the victims. 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.”

And here's MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon's statement:

“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 [sic] of MSU at heart. I have always done my best to lead MSU and I will continue to do so today and tomorrow.”

Original post: 11:29 p.m.

Nassar is the former MSU athletics doctor who sexually abused multiple students under the guise of medical treatment.

MSU has been plagued this week with accusations by victims that the school didn’t listen to them when they reported the abuse.

MSU Student Body President Lorenzo Santavicca says it’s time for MSU President Lou Anna Simon to step down.

“We have an issue here. You know we are plagued by sexual assault at our university,” Santavicca says. “And for our university students that have spoken, we need a change in leadership.”

Top-ranking legislative leaders are also calling for Simon's resignation. Santavicca says he voiced his concerns to board members up until late last night. The board is still in its meeting.

Simon wrote a letter defending MSU's actions earlier this week. From Simon's letter:

"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."

We followed live Twitter updates from reporter Cheyna Roth.

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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