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Bipartisan group of state legislators call on BOT to cooperate with AG investigation

March 25, 2021
<p>The Hannah Administration Building on Sept. 20, 2020.</p>

The Hannah Administration Building on Sept. 20, 2020.

Photo by Lauren Snyder | The State News

The Michigan Legislature sent a letter Thursday morning to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees “strongly urging” them to waive its privilege on the remaining 6,000 documents related to the Larry Nassar investigation.

Signed by 47 representatives in the House and Senate, the letter adds to mounting public pressure on Michigan State to cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation. 

This letter was sent two days after the East Lansing City Council passed a resolution honoring the bravery of sister survivors of sexual abuse and calling on Michigan State to waive its privilege to the documents to continue the investigation. 

Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) and Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) introduced the letter, and it has gained bipartisan and bicameral support in the Michigan Legislature, according to a press release provided by the Michigan House of Representatives.

“Full transparency is essential to this investigation, and an impartial investigation is essential to restoring public trust,” Brixie said in the press release. “We owe it to the survivors, families, students, faculty, employees and the entire MSU community to have a full, transparent and impartial investigation completed. The MSU Board members have the opportunity to ensure this happens.”

Hertel said in the press release that the decision is overdue from Michigan State and hopes that they will work to restore trust in the university.

"It is long past time for MSU to step up and do the right thing,” Hertel said. “Continuing to block the release of documents only stands in the way of MSU restoring public trust and the rights and healing of survivors.”

This is not the first sign of support from the Michigan Representatives of the release of the documents to the attorney general. In October 2019, 12 members of the House signed an open letter from ReclaimMSU asking Michigan State to cooperate with the investigation and waive privilege to the documents. 

If the Board of Trustees does not waive its assertion of privilege to the documents, the Attorney General’s office will close the investigation without reaching a proper conclusion, according to a letter from the Attorney General’s office to Michigan State on Feb. 24. 

“Full transparency is essential to restoring public trust,” the representatives said. “We owe it to the survivors, families, students, faculty, employees, and the entire MSU community to have a full, transparent, and impartial investigation completed. You have the opportunity to ensure this happens.” 

ReclaimMSU also wrote an open letter to the Michigan State Board of Trustees asking them to cooperate with the attorney general’s request. The open letter has garnered 477 signatures as of March 24, including 20 signatures from state representatives.

The letter from the House of Representatives cannot require MSU to cooperate with the request, much like the resolution and open letter. However, the letter from members of the House adds to the public pressure on the university to act with full transparency in the investigation.

The full letter can be viewed below.

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