MSU President Resigns Hours After Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard Passes Resolution Calling For Her To Leave

Leonard (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)

Just hours after Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard held a vote on a resolution calling for Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon to resign, Simon announced she was leaving the scandal-plagued school.

Simon’s departure comes in response to the controversy involving Dr. Larry Nassar, a sports medicine Doctor at MSU who sexually assaulted nearly 200 young girls during his time at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.

Simon’s exit and Leonard’s vote came the same day as Nassar’s sentencing, where the disgraced Doc was given up to 175 years in prison. The 175 years is in addition to the 40 years he will receive for thousands of child porn images authorities found in his house, some of his own kids.

“The lack of leadership and accountability among MSU’s highest ranks allowed a predator to continue to abuse, and victims to suffer in silence, for far too long,” the resolution says. “As university president, Lou Anna K. Simon must ultimately take responsibility for her actions, or lack thereof, and the university culture that allowed this to happen. Michigan State University, one of our state’s flagship public universities, and our state deserve better from its leaders.”

The only way the university, community and state can move beyond the “national embarrassment” of the Nassar crimes is to get rid of Simon, the resolution continues.

“We have lost confidence in the ability of President Lou Anna K. Simon to lead a transparent investigation, to implement changes that will ensure it never happens again, to protect students, and to lead Michigan State University forward … We call on Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon to resign immediately or for the Michigan State University Board of Trustees to remove her from the Office of President of Michigan State University.”

Nassar will spend the rest of his life in prison, but questions about what the university could have done to stop him sooner remain unanswered and won’t be going away anytime soon. Reports from the Detroit News show that 14 MSU employees were aware of substantial sexual abuse allegations against Nassar over the last 20 years.

Miraculously, MSU actually had to ask Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate because the AG hasn’t lifted a finger in over 18 months to look into what went wrong, and who knew what.

Leonard’s leadership passing the resolution was clearly the last straw for Simon and helped hasten her departure.

However, Leonard’s opponent for in the race for Attorney General, State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, has accused Leonard of playing politics with the situation.

According to WWMT:

“We sat down with Leonard on why he’s calling for MSU’s President to resign over her handling of Dr. Larry Nassar’s case.

“This monster, this doctor, that’s been let loose on this campus for nearly twenty years was granted alumnus of the year,” Leonard said. “You look at the fact that the University has not been responsive to these young victims. I think the President of the University just issued an apology a few days ago after knowing this was going on for months and the fact that there was no report in their investigation, that was enough for me. The reputation of the University has been completely tarnished and at this point it is time for the President of Michigan State University to step aside and let someone else lead it.”

Schuitmaker says Leonard is saying all of this for political points.

“I believe his calls for resignation is the height of political grandstanding,” Schuitmaker said.”

If anyone appears to be playing politics with this horrible case, it’s Schuitmaker, who does a disservice to the victims-and herself-by attacking Leonard’s personal motives for calling on Simon to resign.

At this point, most observers understand that Leonard did the right thing for the state of Michigan, and ultimately, Michigan State University.