Emails to Si­mon re­veal anger over Nas­sar scan­dal

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY KIM KOZLOWSKI The Detroit News

The email to the pres­i­dent of Michi­gan State Univer­sity about the Larry Nas­sar sex abuse scan­dal was fu­ri­ous and fore­bod­ing.

“As a loyal Spar­tan, I am heart­sick that this mon­ster was ever as­so­ci­ated with MSU and that com­plaints about his be­hav­ior as long as 20 years ago were dis­missed,” the alum wrote Lou Anna Si­mon on Jan. 23, the same day women were tes­ti­fy­ing in an Ing­ham County court­room about how the for­mer MSU sports doc­tor had as­saulted them.

“I have been in the process of up­dat­ing my will for some time now, but have to put on hold,” the email con­tin­ued. “I can­not in good con­science go ahead with plans I have had for years to leave the bulk of my es­tate (in six fig­ures) to MSU. I need more time to un­der­stand how my univer­sity could have turned a blind eye to the re­ports com­ing for­ward over the years and dis­miss­ing vic­tim ac­counts.

“It may be time for a thor­ough house­clean­ing, be­gin­ning at the top,” the writer con­cluded.

The next day,Si­mon re­signed un­der pres­sure, end­ing her 14-year ten­ure at the hel­mof Michi­gan’s largest univer­sity.

The email is among hun­dreds that Spar­tan alumni and oth­ers sent to Si­mon at the height of the Nas­sar scan­dal. The com­mu­ni­ca­tions were ob­tained by

The Detroit News in their en­tirety un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act af­ter seven months of pur­suit.

More than 1,600 emails re­viewed by The News il­lus­trate the back­lash Si­mon and MSU faced from mid- to late-Jan­uary as the breadth and depth of Nas­sar’s crimes came into sharp fo­cus dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing for first-de­gree crim­i­nal sex­ual con­duct.

Many of the mes­sages were sent in re­sponse to a state­ment Si­mon is­sued in mid-Jan­uary ex­press­ing re­gret for Nas­sar’s ac­tion and out­lin­ing ac­tions aimed at aid­ing vic­tims and en­sur­ing that such abuse could not hap­pen again at MSU.

Roughly half of the emails called for Si­mon to quit or be fired, with an­other 20 per­cent crit­i­ciz­ing how she and MSU had han­dled the cri­sis. An­other 20 per­cent ex­pressed sup­port, in­clud­ing pleas for Si­mon to stay on, while the re­main­der merely asked ques­tions or thanked her. A sam­pling:

“Too lit­tle, too late,” wrote one alum on Jan. 20.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

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