Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon To Resign
DETROIT, Michigan - Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon will resign in the wake of the Larry Nassar sentencing and amid outcry over the school's handling of allegations against him, according to the school's website which posted her resignation letter Wednesday night addressed to the board of trustees at MSU. A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Simon will resign Thursday.
The news comes on the heels of Wednesday's sentencing for Nassar, who was employed at MSU as a medical doctor. He will be serving 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing young girls and women during medical treatment.
Part of Simon's letter described the difficulty it was to be president during the Nassar fall out.
"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," she wrote. "I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere."
Simon continued: "As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger ... 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."
Simon has spent her entire professional career, more than 40 years, at MSU. "I love this place," she wrote. "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."
In response, the chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees released a statement as well.
"President Simon has offered her resignation to the Board of Trustees, and we will accept it," Brian Breslin wrote. "We agree with Dr. Simon that it is now time for change ... We will be working through the details of transition with President Simon through the rest of the week and will announce them as soon as we can."
Breslin continued: "President Simon has served with distinction as MSU's President for 13 years and has been a constant presence at the university for more than 40 years. She literally has devoted her entire professional life to this institution, and more than anyone else has helped make MSU a national and international leader in higher education."
Many of the victims accused the university of mishandling past complaints about Nassar.
Michigan State officials have denied accusations the school covered up misconduct by school administrators. The university has said reviews by campus police, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office have not resulted in criminal charges against anyone at the university other than Nassar, who was fired in September 2016.
Simon's resignation was welcomed in Michigan's Legislature, where pressure had been building for her to step down or be ousted.
The Associated Press contributed this report.