Emails to Simon reveal anger over Nassar scandal
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.