Lou Anna Simon, the president of Michigan State University, has officially stepped down from her position on Thursday, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. She began her tenure as the president of the university back in 2005 and has served as the president for 13 years since. Her entire career, which began over four decades ago, was spent at the school.
Simon resigns in the midst of the scandal surrounding the school's disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges last month and was sentenced to between 40 and 175 more years in prison today on charges of sexual assault.
Nassar was also the doctor for the U.S.A. Olympic Gymnastics team. More than 150 women, many of whom are gymnasts, have accused him of sexually abusing them. Many of them have attacked Michigan State and U.S.A. Gymnastics among other institutions for enabling Nassar's behavior over the last two decades and failing to stop him when they had the chance to do so.
More than 150 women, including the survivors themselves, parents and other representatives, delivered powerful impact statements over a seven-day sentencing period. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina presided over the sentencing in a Lansing, Michigan courtroom. It ended with Aquilina sentencing Nassar to between 40 and 175 more years in prison.
Particularly in the last week during the sentencing, there have been many calls for Simon to resign. Today, the Michigan House of Representatives approved a resolution that called for her to either resign or be fired. It passed on a 96-11 vote.
This came just days after seven of the eight trustees on Michigan State University's Board of Trustees remained supportive of Simon. Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo also expressed his support for Simon in a controversial interview that was widely criticized, most notably by the mother of two-time Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman.
With the pressure mounting and the NCAA opening an investigation of Michigan State over the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal, Simon decided that it was time to step down.
Here is Simon's statement on the matter, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements. Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first. Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me. I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement."Published 25 Jan 2018, 10:01 IST