Michigan State University board of trustees member calls for school president to resign

Mitch Lyons issued statement Saturday

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

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A member of the Michigan State University board of trustees released a statement Saturday calling for President Lou Anna Simon to resign.

Simon has received backlash over how the university handled the Larry Nassar scandal.

The board has supported Simon, but Mitch Lyons expressed that he did not agree with the statement. He said that the board hasn't been presented information that would suggest she knew about Nassar's actions with girls, but her resignation would help start the healing process.

"I don’t feel that President 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," he wrote.

Read his full statement below:

Let me start by saying, as a husband and father, I hurt for the survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse and have been moved by their brave testimony this week.

I have been very troubled since yesterday’s board statement. While I do agree that bringing in the Attorney General to review the situation is in MSU’s and the public’s best interest, and that bringing outside counsel in to help guide this board through this unprecedented time is wise, I do not agree with our statement of support for President Simon. As I expressed repeatedly to fellow board members during our discussion Friday, I don’t feel that President 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 feel that our best recourse is for President Simon to resign immediately in order to allow the healing process to begin, first and foremost for the survivors and secondarily for our university. I believe that without question, the public has lost confidence in Dr. Simon to effectively lead this university and I believe that this loss of confidence is irreparable.

This is not a personal indictment of President Simon. To date, this board has not been presented with any evidence that would suggest she knew anything of the monster that Larry Nassar is until 2016. I believe he hid behind the legitimacy of known medical procedures to prey on young girls and women. While mistakes were made, I don’t believe anyone at MSU, including President Simon, knowingly engaged in any coverup or criminal wrongdoing at any time. However, while President Simon has done many great things during her time at MSU, this atrocity is simply too much to overcome and our institutional accountability has been compromised. I have empathy for the position she is in but her legacy does not take precedence over the survivors.

This board has prided itself on presenting itself as a unified board over the years, even when we had disagreements. However, on this issue I strongly disagree and, while I am only one voice on this board, I can’t in good conscience remain silent on this issue.

Lastly, before people question whether I’m doing this for political gain given that my term ends the end of this year, I have no intention of running for re-election in November of 2018. My only hope is that everyone impacted by this tragedy can begin healing with God’s grace. God bless the survivors.

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