Meadows and Altmann Call for MSU Trustees to Resign

Friday, January 26, 2018, 10:14 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: Mark Meadows, Erik Altmann, and Shanna Draheim, photos courtesy City of East Lansing

East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows and Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann are calling on the MSU Trustees to resign in the wake of the sentencing of Larry Nassar, convicted of sexually assaulting girls and women who were his patients when he was an MSU osteopathic physician.

The Detroit News quotes Altmann, an MSU Psychology professor, as also saying, “our celebrity coaches and our athletic director need to resign, too,’ referencing Athletic Director Mark Hollis, men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant.”

Yesterday evening, in a statement provided at ELi's request, Meadows also took to task MSU President Lou Anna Simon, who announced her resignation on Wednesday. He suggests the MSU administrative culture “is designed to restrict the flow of unwelcome information to the President” and says “she should have either reformed the system or stepped down. It was a system she either created or permitted to continue.”

Meadows says in his statement, “When the scope of Nassar’s transgressions became known, the right thing to do would have been to announce a resignation, reveal the defect in the system, and act decisively to reform it before the resignation took effect.” He characterizes Simons’ resignation statement as “tone deaf.”

Meadows insists the Board of Trustees “should resign; every one of them. No exceptions.” He explains that, “Like a City Manager [hired by City Council], a University President is an employee of the Board that hires that person. It is convenient to say the buck stops at the President. It actually stops with the Trustees. They failed the victims, the public that elected them and the University they were sworn to support. They essentially minimized the damage to the victims with their continual support of an administration for which the image of the University was more important than the damage to the victims.”

In her statement to ELi, provided yesterday morning, Councilmember Shanna Draheim did not call for additional resignations but, as Meadows later did, noted that there must be “something…fundamentally flawed in the very fabric of institutions like MSU, USAG [USA Gymnastics], and Twistars,” the Dimondale gymnastics facility where Nassar committed some of his assaults. She said that “the Penn State scandal…should have put everyone high alert.”

Draheim also expressed deep concern about the girls and women who “have been touched by Larry Nassar’s sickness and evil.” Said Draheim, “These women and children were failed on so many levels over the years. I am glad that they have finally had a platform to have their voices heard loud and clear, and to face this despicable creature and his enablers.”

Draheim said Simon had done “great things at MSU” but that she “led an institution that failed catastrophically on this - not around the edges. In order for these women to begin healing and for MSU to have a path forward, I think she made the right choice in stepping down.”

But Draheim did not, in her statement, call for the Trustees’ resignations. She closed, “The City of East Lansing is the home of MSU, and we will continue to be strong partners with, and advocates for the success of, our beloved university. In whatever way we can, we will help our East Lansing and greater MSU community move forward.”

Altmann and Councilmember Aaron Stephens, an MSU student elected in November to City Council, did not respond to ELi's requests for statements.

When asked for her statement, Councilmember Ruth Beier responded only with a criticism of ELi for not reporting on MSU’s role in the history of Nassar’s crimes.

Yesterday appears to mark the first time members of East Lansing's City Council have spoken about the Nassar case as Councilmembers.

The MSU Board of Trustees meets at 1 p.m. today and is expected to name an interim president to take over from Simon.

 

Disclosure: Alice Dreger's spouse, Aron Sousa, is Senior Associate Dean for MSU's College of Human Medicine (CHM). Nassar was a physician in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM), and the two colleges have many intertwined programs and resource needs.

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