Flanked by protesters, MSU’s board of trustees addressed several agenda items in its December meeting Friday morning.
1. Simon and trustees comment on Nassar, address survivors
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon personally addressed a crowd of survivors and student protesters who gathered at the meeting. Simon offered apologies for the actions of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Simon thanked the survivors and said Nassar would not be behind bars without their courage to step forward.
“I am truly sorry for the abuse you suffered, the pain it caused and the pain it continues to cause today,” Simon said. “I am sorry a physician, who called himself a Spartan, so utterly betrayed your trust and everything this university stands for.”
Board of trustees Chairman Brian Breslin also read a statement, announcing the intent to establishment a $10 million fund for counseling and mental health services and encouraged MSU leadership to accomplish the task with urgency.
“We understand and respect the public’s desire for information and details about these matters,” Breslin’s statement read. “However, we are still engaged in civil litigation and it is simply not appropriate in most instances to offer specific details while that process continues. Our hope has been and continues to be for a fair and just resolution.”
2. Simon offered raise, donates it
Affirming their complete faith in Simon, the board moved to give her a raise equal to highest-performance faculty.
It was also announced that Simon did not take the raise and instead requested the $150,000 be repurposed as a donation to the Drs. Lou Anna K. and Roy J. Simon Endowed Scholarship fund.
Simon also refused a salary increase in 2016, donating $100,000 to the fund instead. Since 2007, Simon has only accepted a pay raise in 2014, according to a previous State News article.
3. Trustees acknowledge more than $177 million in gifts
MSU received gifts with a total value of $177,220,366 between August 7 and November 17, the board announced.
Non-monetary gifts, or consignments, made up $148,660.26 of the total gifts. Among the consignments received by MSU are five equines, Pure Stride shoes for the football team and Bose speakers for the women’s golf and women’s volleyball teams.
MSU has received $333,550,397 in gifts so far in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
4. Land purchases and changes
The board authorized MSU administration to purchase approximately .25 acres of commercial property in Grand Rapids. The purchase would “enhance” future development north of MSU’s Grand Rapids Research Center, according to the meeting’s agenda.
The land, which currently houses an auto service facility, will be purchased for $600,000.
The board also authorized the administration to amend or terminate deed restrictions on property conveyed to McLaren Health Care for a recently unveiled $450 million development project. A hospital with nine stories and 240 beds will be constructed, along with a cancer center and an ambulatory care center.
“It will be transformational not just to our community but regionally,” Trustee Melanie Foster said. "This is really a milestone.”
5. FRIB and facility updates
The board authorized MSU administration to plan for the installation of new projects at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB.
According to the meeting’s agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy wants to begin funding operations at the FRIB next year, which would be four years ahead of schedule. As such, the Department of Energy is interested in additional research opportunities, which the projects — a “high speed spectrometer” and “isotope harvesting experimental vault” — would provide.
Preliminary cost estimates for the project range from $20 to $22.5 million.
The board also approved renovations to Cook Hall and Cowles House, as well as equipment replacements for Student Services and Wells Hall.