If you’ve followed Michigan State’s role in the case of Larry Nassar, you’d be disappointed with the university’s involvement, or lack thereof.
Heartbreak, devastation and powerful survivor stories filled the Ingham County courtroom over the past week with one key figure not in attendance for most of it: President Lou Anna K. Simon. While she stated that she didn’t want to take away from the victim’s stories by being there, she made it seem like she couldn’t fit it into her schedule.
What’s more important than a scandal that’s damaged the lives of thousands of innocent young girls due to a “doctor” breaking trust and a university administration’s tone-deafness? The answer should have been nothing, but Simon found other reasons to be absent.
Through all of this, coaches were asked to make statements and anything they said other than “we feel terrible for the victims and we support them through this trying time” would be wrong.
Poor PR left and right led to Michigan State’s Board of Trustees backing a president who may not have covered anything up, but who didn’t realize that wasn’t the reason she was being put under the spotlight. It wasn’t her handling of the case that was in question, but rather her action, or lack thereof, after it was brought to her attention.
Simon proved to be even more tone-deaf in her resignation letter on Wednesday night when she made it seem like she was being blamed solely because of her role as the leader of the university. Little did she realize she was being targeted because she wasn’t acting as her main role: a leader.
Fingers pointed, excuses made, lines crossed. Michigan State’s administration continued to make cringe-worthy statements and throughout the whole Larry Nassar case, there wasn’t enough university support for the victims.
The common denominator during the court process from the victims who suffered abuse while seeing Nassar at Michigan State’s clinic was that the university failed to reach out. It wasn’t doing its job of making sure the victims knew where the administration stood, rather taking the side of a tone-deaf president with little mention of survivors.
That’s where the students of Michigan State came in. Survivors like Lindsey Lemke who stood up to Simon in the courtroom and called her out for her inaction throughout the process are who brought attention to the fact that she wasn’t acting like a president.
The student body followed suit, voicing support for the victims, calling for President Simon’s resignation and Trustee Joel Ferguson’s job. Standing up for what the administration wouldn’t: the survivors of this horrific crime.
Being the adults in this type of situation, the student body deserves credit for helping create change in the administration — there’s a good chance, and hope, that Simon is just the start.
This just goes to show what a student body can do when it comes together. Michigan State is in the midst of one of its darkest chapters and it must stand with the Nassar survivors. The student body is doing its part, it’s now time for the administration to follow suit.