Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of Larry Nassar’s sentencing. The former Michigan State University doctor was sentenced in Ingham county to serve the remainder of his life behind bars after hundreds of the women he sexually abused as girls gave testimony in court in January 2018.
Former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon also announced her resignation a year ago, Thursday after widespread condemnation of her handling of Nassar's case at the university.
Snow swirled as a small crowd gathered outside of the Hannah administration building in sub-freezing tempuratures Thursday night to memorialize the day. Members of Reclaim MSU, an advocacy group dedicated to changing the culture at the school in the wake of the scandal, huddled in front of the building to listen to a series of speakers before laying down teal flowers below a sign with the names of survivors.
Andaluna Borcila, a faculty leader of Reclaim MSU, spoke to the crowd with a megaphone. She said the anniversary is really about commemorating the courage of the survivors. “In spite of how they have been hurt and betrayed they have kept raising their voices and asking for accountability and culture change. They have done this.”
Since the sentencing last year survivors and advocates have been active in pushing for changes at the university. Now that President John Engler has resigned from the board they’re demanding MSU turn over documents requested by the Attorney General’s office. And, pushing for an open presidential search.
Louise Harder is a survivor. She said it was important for survivors and supporters to come together on the anniversary. She noted it's not often that survivors of sexual assault are believed, much less their abusers receive jail time.
“It’s not often that we get a sentence like we did a year ago. I think we need to keep talking about it. We need to make changes at the institution level, the state level and at the national level. And we can’t just stop.”
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