Gov. Candidate Whitmer Calls For MSU President Simon To Step Down
According to WLNS-TV, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer has written a letter to Michigan State University's Board of Trustees urging the removal of President Lou Anna K. Simon. She is the latest to ask for changes at the top after the discovery of a campus doctor who sexually assaulted girls and women.
On Sunday afternoon, Whitmer, who is an MSU graduate and former Minority Leader of the Michigan Senate, posted the following comment on Twitter:
"Only with a change of top management can MSU begin to restore confidence that our great university conducts itself in a manner befitting one of the world's great public institutions."
She linked to a WLNS-TV report which reports her letter to Board of Trustees chairman Brian Breslin asking the board to "seek and accept" the resignation of Simon.
Whitmer, who briefly served as a Lansing-area prosecutor, also wants state police to look at how Michigan State dealt with Larry Nassar. Nassar pleaded guilty last month to molesting girls at his campus office and elsewhere. He lost his physician's license in April and admitted his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls' consent. The 125 girls and young women who have filed reports of abuse with campus police will be able to speak at his Jan. 12 sentencing.
Earlier in the month, Whitmer called for an independent investigation at Michigan State. "I don't believe any of the victims will have confidence that we've got all of the facts," Whitmer said.
Michigan State officials have denied accusations the school covered up misconduct by school administrators. The university police and the FBI conducted a joint investigation earlier this year to determine if any school employees besides Nassar committed crimes.
Republican gubernatorial candidate and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette urged the school to give him an internal report but the school has said there isn't one.
At the December board meeting, it was announced the university would create a $10 million fund for mental health services for sexual assault survivors.
Simon also received the board's support at the meeting. She also declined a $150,000 raise approved by the board.
"We extend our deepest sorrows and sadness for what has happened to each of you," Simon said after victims and a supporter spoke. Earlier, she praised the "survivors," and told them that Nassar betrayed their trust and wouldn't be in prison "without your voices and courage."
The Lansing State Journal editorial board and Michigan Speaker of the House Tom Leonard have also asked for Simon to step down.