Thursday, April 18, 2024

Source: MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon to step down before end of week

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MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon will resign before the week is over, The State News has learned.

According to a knowledgable source to whom we have granted anonymity because the information was told in confidence, Simon's resignation is expected to come in the next few days, namely Friday, potentially sooner.

“I was told (by a board member) that they (MSU Board of Trustees) were going to meet this week and effectively, would have Lou Anna (Simon) step down by Friday," the source said.

Calls for Simon's resignation have proven to be overwhelming. The list of those calling for her job now includes current MSU trustees Mitch Lyons and Dianne Byrum, the Michigan House of Representatives, several state senators, gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, State House Speaker Tom Leonard, newspapers across the nation and dozens of survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse.

“I think the hold up is that they don’t have an interim secured," the source alleged. "There’s been a few names that have been tossed around, but I think they’re trying to figure out who it’s going to be and when they start.”

The interim president will not be hired from inside MSU, the source said. The source also said the university is looking for an interim leader who will act as a "healer" for the university. 

“They would be fully external and then they would begin a ‘healing process for the university’ in wake of the Nassar situation. What the extent of that looks like, I don’t know. But I’ve heard that phrase used, ‘healer.’”

The Detroit Free Press reported on Wednesday that the MSU Board of Trustees were working on a succession plan for Simon's exit. The source confirmed the report.

The Detroit Free Press also reported names of possible interim presidents that have been mentioned in discussions, including former Michigan governors Jennifer Granholm, James Blanchard and John Engler as well as former Grand Valley President Mark Murray.

The source did not have knowledge of who the interim president could be. 

In order for Simon to officially break her contract and resign from her role, a public meeting must be called by the Board of Trustees to accept her resignation. 

Calls for her resignation stem from how the university has addressed ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Nassar sexually abused hundreds of women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. He was sentenced to a maximum of 175 years in prison Wednesday, a sentence of 40 years on each of his seven first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County. 

Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for three charges related to child pornography. Nassar has yet to be sentenced in Eaton County for three charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. His sentencing for those charges is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Nassar is also a defendant in nine lawsuits, all of which also list MSU, MSU's Board of Trustees and USA Gymnastics as defendants.

MSU spokesperson Jason Cody could not be reached for comment. 

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