Embattled Michigan State University (MSU) President Lou Anna Simon resigned late Wednesday night following the sentencing of former doctor Larry Nassar.
MSU and Simon were excoriated during seven days of often angry, but uplifting testimony by many of the 160+ victims who suffered sexual abuse at the fingers of Nassar while he was employed by MSU and United States Gymnastics.
Nassar, is already serving a 60 year federal prison sentence for possession of child pornography. Nassar was also charged with criminal sexual conduct in several counties in the State of Michigan.
As part of his plea deal, Nassar was required to listen to victim impacts statements.
Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, sentenced Nassar to 40-175 years in Michigan state prison. Near the conclusion of announcing her sentence, Judge Aquilina said, “I just signed your death warrant.”
Simon appeared in the gallery only one day of the sentencing hearing, and that, only after she was shamed by the victims for not being there.
Simon has not remained low-profile, however. She continued her duties this week and last as the President of MSU, while debate about her tenure raged among both the public and the MSU Board of Trustees (BoT). The BoT came out in vigorous support of Simon just one day before the sentence was announced. Trustee Joel Ferguson told a radio audience Monday: “That [Simon’s resignation] will not happen. Period,” he added, “She’s a fighter. Her overall, what she’s done for this university, she’s not going to get run out of there by what somebody else did.”
Ms. Simon did, in fact, resign late Wednesday.
The Michigan State Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into MSU’s handling of Larry Nassar, the complaints it received about him and MSU’s response, or lack thereof to those complaints.
Read Simon’s resignation letter here.