EAST LANSING (WWJ) – The Michigan State University Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Lou Anna K. Simon, and name Bill Beekman acting president.
Beekman has served as vice president and secretary of the MSU Board of Trustees for the past ten years.
“I think our culture here at Michigan State clearly needs to improve,” Beekman said. “We need to be able to make everybody that comes on our campus feel safe.”
Several other board members also spoke on Friday, including Mitch Lyons who gave his emotional testament to what needs to happen next.
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“The focus of this board now and forever more has to be to understand what we need to correct in order to ensure this never happens again, Lyons said. “I have a daughter here, I have a daughter that dreams of coming here, and I want her to feel safe. And I want all of our daughters to feel safe here.”
Lyons, as well as many board members, went on to apologize to Nassar’s victims for “failing them.” Trustee Brian Mosallam of Dearborn said he was sorry several times.
Simon quit Wednesday, hours after former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison for molesting some of gymnastics’ top athletes and others.
In sentencing Nassar, an Ingham County Circuit Count judge called the disgraced ex-doctor the “possibly the most prolific serial child sex abuser in history.”
Amid the fallout, the board had expressed support for Simon before her resignation, while she continued to face immense pressure from students, faculty and legislators. While there has been no hard evidence that Simon knew Nassar was sexually abusing girls and women, some of the more than 150 women and girls who have accused him said they complained to university employees as far back as the late 1990s.
Board members, who are elected in statewide votes, have themselves been under intense scrutiny — with at least one Michigan lawmaker calling for their ouster.
Two have since announced they will not seek re-election; while another, Joel Ferguson, apologized this week after saying there was more going on at Michigan State than “this Nassar thing.” Ferguson previously had said victims were ambulance chasers out for a payday. The school long resisted calls for an independent investigation before asking Attorney General Bill Schuette for a review a week ago.
This all comes after, late Friday morning, MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis announced to reporters that he too is leaving the university.
Students have planned a Friday evening march and protest.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.