Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Decision to give Simon office in Wills House made during resignation

April 16, 2018
President Lou Anna K. Simon speaks as the MSU Board of Trustees meet on Sept. 8, 2017 at Hannah Administration Building. The next meeting will be on Oct. 27.
President Lou Anna K. Simon speaks as the MSU Board of Trustees meet on Sept. 8, 2017 at Hannah Administration Building. The next meeting will be on Oct. 27. —
Photo by Carly Geraci | The State News

Former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon will be among the four former and current MSU officials who will receive offices in the newly-renovated Wills House.

The four officials will occupy offices on the second floor of the historical house located on campus, according to MSU’s Communications and Brand Strategy, or CABS. Among those receiving offices are former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and her husband, Roy Simon.

Emily Guerrant, university spokesperson, said the renovations for Wills House and the decision to have Simon located there were made as she resigned.

"The decision to put her (Simon) there happened when she was resigning," Guerrant said. "Because the renovations to Wills House were going to be done soon and there would be space there, the decision was made. It was a mutual decision between her and the university that that's where she would transition to."

Guerrant said Simon will be doing research in the Wills House. 

"It is in her contract to return to faculty," she said. "She is going to be doing research as part of her faculty assignment."

Guerrant said she does not yet know what kind of research Simon will be doing.

She said Roy Simon's position as the senior advisor to the executive vice president for administrative services will remain the same, but he will now be working part-time.

Simon resigned as president of the university on Jan. 24 in light of MSU’s handling of the sexual assault allegations against ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

The renovated home includes a large meeting space on the first floor and offices on the second floor, according to a press release for the renovation of the house.

According to the press release, the building will “house MSU faculty who are retired, volunteer or continue to provide service to and be engaged with the university" and will "accommodate large teams and task forces charged with planning university projects and writing large proposals."

“The occupants of those offices are Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, former University Physician; Martha L. Hesse, Professor Emeritus; Lou Anna K. Simon, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor; and Roy Simon, Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services,” according to an email from CABS.

The press release said MSU retirees have offices in a “variety of locations around campus wherever space is available.”

Survivor Morgan McCaul was vocal on Twitter about her feelings toward Simon receiving an office in the renovated Wills House.

McCaul said she feels the decision is "reprehensible."

"Rewarding the leader of an institution under whose watch hundreds, if not thousands, of little girls were sexually abused and assaulted with a million dollar renovation, an office that works in tandem with future administrations, and a $500,000 salary bloated with perks is the epitome of the culture that exists at Michigan State University today," McCaul said in a Twitter direct message.  

She said she is outraged she was not afforded even a phone call from MSU, while Simon has yet to face any consequences.

"Lou Anna Simon exemplifies the disgusting environment which has anchors in the MSU administration; they’ve made clear: she is worth more than hundreds of stolen children," she said in the message. 

Wills House was built in 1927 for the U.S. Weather Bureau and was donated to MSU in the 1940s. Since then, it has housed several departments and groups within the university, such as MSU Extension and technology services. 

According to the press release, planning for the building’s renovations began in 2015, the actual renovations started in November 2017 and were completed in March. The total cost of project was $977,301. 

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