Tuesday, October 20, 2020

MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons calls for President Simon's resignation

January 20, 2018
<p>&nbsp;Trustee Mitch Lyons reads off an apology on Feb. 17, 2017 at the Hannah Administration Building. Lyons was apologizing for tweets that he posted a few weeks ago. Students and community members were given an opportunity to voice their concerns.&nbsp;</p>

 Trustee Mitch Lyons reads off an apology on Feb. 17, 2017 at the Hannah Administration Building. Lyons was apologizing for tweets that he posted a few weeks ago. Students and community members were given an opportunity to voice their concerns. 

Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons called for the resignation of MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, according to a statement released Saturday evening.

Just a day prior, Lyons stood behind Chairman of the Board Brian Breslin as he read a statement affirming the Board of Trustees' "total faith" in Simon.

"I have been very troubled since yesterday's board statement," Lyons' statement read. "While I do agree that bringing in the Attorney General to review the situation is in MSU's and the public's best interest, and that bringing outside counsel in to help guide this board through this unprecedented time is wise, I do not agree with our statement of support for President Simon."

Lyons wrote he told his fellow board members repeatedly during Friday's closed-door "work session" he doesn't feel Simon can "survive the public outcry" following MSU's handling of the ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's case, especially after the testimonies shared by Nassar's survivors in court this week.

"I feel that our best recourse is for President Simon to resign immediately in order to allow the healing process to begin, first and foremost for the survivors and secondarily for our university," Lyons wrote. "I believe that without question, the public has lost confidence in Dr. Simon to effectively lead this university and I believe that this loss of confidence is irreparable.

Lyons added the caveat he did not intend his statement as a "personal indictment" of Simon, stating the board has not yet seen evidence she knew anything about Nassar's abuse until 2016.

"However, while President Simon has done many great things during her time at MSU, this atrocity is simply too much to overcome and our institutional accountability has been compromised," Lyons wrote. "I have empathy for the position she is in but her legacy does not take precedence in this situation."

Lyons also wrote he does not intend on running for re-election this year.

Following Lyons' statement, Breslin released a statement on behalf of the Board of Trustees. He said the rest of the trustees do support Simon.

“Yesterday, a unanimous Board of Trustees stated that we continue to believe President Simon is the right leader for the university and that she has our support," Breslin wrote. "Regrettably, Trustee Mitch Lyons announced his intention to call for President Simon’s resignation. Importantly, all of the other trustees continue to support President Simon."

Breslin also wrote the board shares the outrage of survivors over the crimes committed by Nassar and it looks forward to a "prompt and thorough investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to help reassure the public that the university and its leadership have nothing to hide."

Editor's note — This article was updated Jan. 20 at 10:25 p.m. with the statement from MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons. The article was again updated at 11:50 p.m. with the statement from the MSU Board of Trustees.

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