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READ: Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon's resignation letter

Simon resigns amid criticism over school's handling of Larry Nassar case

President of Michigan State University Lou Anna Simon. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
President of Michigan State University Lou Anna Simon. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon officially announced her resignation Wednesday amid heavy criticism over the school's handling of the Larry Nassar case.

You can read Simon's full resignation letter below:

"The last year and a half has been very difficult for the victims of Larry Nassar, for the university community, and for me personally. To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment. I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere.

"As you and many in the Spartan family know, I planned to retire in December 2016, and we had begun a conversation about a smooth transition. Then the Indianapolis Star article appeared about USAG and one of the victims contacted MSU police to file a complaint. The MSU Police investigation commenced. Nassar’s employment was terminated shortly thereafter. Work began within the HealthTeam and other areas of the university to improve safety. Given the challenges, my transition was postponed. I appreciate the support you provided. 

"The survivors’ accounts are horrific. They are tragic, heartbreaking, and personally gut-wrenching. I take solace that many victims have indicated that the opportunity to confront Nassar is a step toward healing. I am proud of the exceptional work of the Special Victims Unit led by Lieutenant Andrea Munford with the steadfast leadership of Chief Dunlap. I am proud of my support of their work even though the results have been very painful to all who watched.

"As Nassar’s legal journey to prison was drawing to a close, more and more negative attention was focused on Michigan State University, and on me. I am pleased that statements have been made by Mr. Fitzgerald and Board members about my integrity and the fact that there is no cover-up. I support wholeheartedly the Board’s decision to ask the Attorney General’s Office to review the events surrounding the Nassar matter. This is an important step toward providing more assurance to the university community and to the public. In the past, I have provided assurances to the Attorney General of my full cooperation, and I will continue to do so.

"As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements.  Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first. Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me. I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.

"Anyone who knows me knows I am a principled person. I have spent my entire professional career, more than 40 years, at MSU. I love this place. I have watched it grow and prosper, and it has been the honor and privilege of my life to serve as its president since 2005, and over the last few years, to have the opportunity to work with all of you toward our shared goals for MSU. I will continue to do whatever I can to help MSU prosper in the future as a Spartan in whatever role I may play.

Respectfully,

Lou Anna K. Simon, President
John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor
"

Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing young athletes. Over seven days of sentencing, 156 women delivered victim-impact statements.

Simon and Michigan State University have taken heavy criticism for the handling of Nassar's tenure at the school. Nassar began working as a gymnastics team physician and assistant professor at MSU in 1997 and wasn't fired until September 2016.

Over the course of those two decades, multiple victims say they alerted university officials about Nassar's abuse.

Simon's resignation comes amid an NCAA investigation into the Nassar case. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is also looking into the school's handling of the case.