Board member says Michigan St. president should resign; Tom Izzo says "there is no way" he could waver in his support for Lou Anna Simon

By Scooby Axson
January 20, 2018

A Michigan State trustee is calling for university president Lou Anna Simon to be fired, even though the Board of Trustees gave her a vote of confidence.

Trustee Mitch Lyons issued a statement saying Simon should step down immediately for the university's handling of the Larry Nassar case.

"I have been very troubled since yesterday's board announcement," Lyons said in the statement. "I do not agree with our statement of support for Pres. Simon. As I expressed repeatedly to fellow  oard members during our discussion Friday, I don't believe Pres. Simon can survive the public outcry that has been generated by this tragedy and even less so after hearing the testimony of these brave survivors of Larry Nassar's abuse.

"I believe our best recourse is for President Simon to resign immediately in order to let the healing process begin, first and foremost for the survivors and secondarily for our university."

Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct and is expected to be sentenced soon.

Nassar, who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on federal child pornography charges and obstruction of justice last month and was sentenced to 60 years in prison, has been accused of sexual abuse by more that 150 women.

During Nassar's sentencing phase last week, many of his victims, including members of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team, came forward to read victim impact statements.

"No one at Michigan State has listened since 1997 and still no one is listening. It leaves me so concerned for that campus and for little girls everywhere. If they are unwilling to listen, this is not going to change," said Rachael Denhollander, who was one of the first women to accuse Nassar of assault.

Although Lyons and local and state politicians have called for Simon to resign, Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo said in a statement "there is no way" he could waver in his support for Simon.

That statement led the mother of gold medalist Aly Raisman, another of Nassar's victims, to speak out on social media.

"Since you "hope the right person was convicted" I wonder if you are a complete and total MORON or just a LIAR when you claim you listened to the impact statements," Lynn Raisman said in the tweet.

On Sunday, Izzo released a statement clarifying his comments.

"On Friday night in my postgame press conference, I used the wrong words when trying to express my belief that Larry Nassar and anyone else who broke the law should be held accountable for their crimes," Izzo said in the statement. "My overall message was, and remains, that I have tremendous admiration for the courage the survivors have shown, and that Larry Nassar has permanently damaged the lives of so many people and deserves all the punishment that he receives."

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