Board of Trustees draw criticism at meeting for continuing to not support survivors
Editor's note: A previous version of this story attributed a quote from Sarah Singer to Erin Blayer, and a quote from Nicole Casady to Sarah Singer. This story has been updated to reflect the change.
The day after the Office of Civil Rights released its reports on Michigan State's mishandling of sexual assault claims, the Board of Trustees had their first meeting of the 2019-20 school year. Survivors of sexual assault took to the podium during the public participation portion of the meeting.
Sarah Singer, Nicole Casady, Erin Blayer, Debrah Miszak and Lauren Sosinski spoke on behalf of survivors.
While reflecting on their personal experiences — as well as the experiences of people close to them — the women shared their discontent with the university and its file to withdraw claims made against the university, affecting the second wave of Nassar survivors.
"Members of the board, President Stanley, esteemed colleagues, I am asking you today: please, fix these broken policies," Singer said.
Stanley has stated that his goal at MSU is to expose what has gone wrong at MSU under previous administrations, including hiding and covering up sexual assault. He has also said he plans to meet with survivors and hear their stories.
"Your actions tell a completely different story," Casady said. "A story where the one thing MSU has contributed to is the ongoing dehumanization of survivors."
She said that MSU's actions have been counterproductive to the process of healing for survivors, and said that by filing the motion to withdraw cases allowed them to be revictimized.
When Blayer took to the podium, she addressed the survivors waiting in the audience and the board's failure to respond to a letter, asking to meet with Stanley with an audience.
"To the general public, MSU is assuring the remaining MSU Nassar survivors, known as the wave two survivors, that it cares deeply about our well being and is committed to doing whatever is necessary to help in our healing," she said. "But in private, you are actively seeking to dismiss our cases."
In a press conference after the board meeting, Stanley said the reason that the motion to withdraw the claims was filed was because the court ordered that MSU respond to the previously filed motions.
"Nothing of this university's behavior towards sexual assault survivors changes," Miszak said. "This university isn't sorry for its actions, it's sorry it got caught."
Stanley said the university is committed to settling the cases with the second wave of Nassar survivors, citing 80 cases that have already been solved.
"There is not enough being done to ensure the safety of the students, nor enough to even begin to right the wrongs this university has committed over the years, especially in regards to the survivors involved in this scandal," Sosinski said.
"We are demanding transparency," Blayer said.
Debrah Miszak was previously a reporter at The State News, but is no longer is affiliated.