Many people in mid-Michigan are reacting to the news that former Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon has been formally charged in connection with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to a police officer in 2014 about Nassar’s identity.
WKAR’s Kevin Lavery spoke with Natalie Rogers with the group Reclaim MSU.
I think this is great. This is the first step in holding the failed leadership at MSU accountable. This is the first step in really starting to acknowledge that there were institutional structures in place to protect Larry Nassar. I think it’s great. It’s a step in the right direction.
Are others (with Reclaim MSU) expressing similar opinions?
Yes, right now it’s been through social media. We’re all just finding this out together.
Have you heard the perspectives of any survivors (of Larry Nassar’s abuse)?
Just from what I’ve seen on social media, people that I follow…the sentiment is that this is a big step forward for survivors. They feel holding the right people accountable is part of the healing process. So this is a big win for them.
Do you feel this sends a message in a way that’s different from past charges against former MSU dean William Strampel and former gymnastics coach Kathy Klages? Simon is a higher profile figure. Is the message different now?
Yeah…I think Lou Anna K. Simon getting charged shows how deeply this went and shows how many problems this institution really had and how many levels of failure there were. I think it’s important to note that up until this point, Lou Anna K. Simon was still allowed to keep her $750,000 annual salary. So, she was still making a lot of money from the university even though she had stepped down. It’s also important to note that the (MSU) board (of trustees) kind of supported her before she resigned and only pressured for her resignation after public pressure kind of mounted.
So, I think Lou Anna K. Simon is just the beginning, and I think there were a lot of people who initially supported her that also are complicit in this, and should be brought to justice. So I think this is a step forward, but there’s a lot that needs to be addressed institutionally as well.