Lou Anna Simon is no longer the right person to lead Michigan State University.
While Simon’s 12-year tenure has been marked by numerous accomplishments, there is one stark and significant failure that now overpowers all else: MSU’s inability to keep women safe from sexual assault and harassment on campus.
That failure belongs to Simon and her team. The time has come to hold her accountable.
The Larry Nassar scandal at MSU has potentially deepened considerably, per the Detroit News article linked above. Nothing to be joyful about, so let's keep it civil on the board.
Also note that this is, at brass tacks, a civil suit adding defendants to an action - that doesn't mean that the allegations are necessarily true. I know one faculty member at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the general reaction regarding Nassar is one of shock.
But if the allegations are true, this scandal gets even closer to Penn State territory. An institutional cover-up spanning decades.
(PLEASE keep any comments tasteful - again, there is nothing to celebrate here, IMO.)
Several individuals with ties to Michigan State University on Wednesday were added to a civil lawsuit against former MSU and USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar, accused of sexually assaulting dozens of athletes over two decades. Among the individuals added were former MSU Gymnastics Coach Kathie Klages, College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel, Sports Medicine Clinic Director Jeff Kovan, former MSU clinical psychologist Gary Stollak and Twistars USA Gymnastics Club owner John Geddert.
Per the article, these new defendants allegedly all were told about Nassar's alleged sexual assaults, all were allegedly required to report the behavior to authorities, and all allegedly failed to do so.
“There are certain people who have the higher duty to report (suspicion of sexual assault), such as a medical professional, a mental health provider, a clergy, a coach, a teacher,” said David Mittleman, an Okemos-based attorney who is representing several Jane Does in the case against Nassar.
So, this article in the Detroit News today highlights changes in sexual assult policies (mostly at UofM) due to Title IX. Once again, Gibbons is brought up and no mention is made of two stars of MSU's basketball team whose story seems even more damaging than Gibbons...and they're a (due to weak region) favorite to win the tourney.
I just don't get it. Our (not great) kicker seems to have been a legendary scumbag and likely rapist (reading his police interview, "I didn't bust in her", makes it pretty hard to defend the guy) but the victim didn't want to press charges and the police took no action. The university then expelled him as soon as it changed its sexual assault policy (which removed the requirement for the victim to make a formal complain and lowered the burden of proof). Our PR response was awful, but official actions seemed to be proper (albeit slow and clunky).
By way of contrast, two MSU players were accused of sexual assualt, a teammate witness said it was not consensual and the victim wanted to press charges. The police (just like with Gibbons) refused to press charges. MSU (unlike Michigan with Gibbons) has taken no action against the two players and the media makes almost no mention of any of this despite repeated coverage of Title IX and sexual assault.
Is this just crazy time? If reducing/eliminating sexual assault is the goal, why in the world has there been no action taken against these guys and, even worse, where's the parallel media attention given that MSU is a daily sports news item? It can't be a matter of "the press hates Michigan" because, frankly, I don't believe that to be true.
Maybe I just had to get that WTF off my chest, so mods, please feel free to delete if today should be a day of joy and celebration only.
2 Texas Longhorns football players were suspended and sent home from the Alamo Bowl after being accused of sexual assault last night. Early reports are the two players are QB Case McCoy and LB Jordan Hicks.
Mod edit: Discussions on a high profile sexual assault case rarely result in anything positive, especially with practically no facts on hand. Ugly situation all around, including some of the comments already which will no doubt multiply. Thread locked. JGB.
Sad news coming from Lake Michigan today. A former MSU rower and rowing coach, Jennifer Gibbons, was sexually assaulted while trying to become the first person to row around Lake Michigan alone, all while raising money for her breast cancer survivor charity, Recovery on Water.
Cancer fundraiser Jennifer Gibbons said she would not be deterred from her goal of rowing completely around the circumference ofLake Michigan following a sexual assault against her this week.
Gibbons, 27, has been rowing 1,500 miles around the border of Lake Michigan by herself since early June to raise money and awareness for her cancer survivor charity, Recovery on Water.
On Sunday, however, as Gibbons prepared to begin rowing in the early morning hours toward Beaver Island near Michigan's Northern Peninsula, a man attacked her and sexually assaulted her, according to her website, Row 4 Row.
Here's a link to the full article: http://news.yahoo.com/woman-rowing-perimeter-lake-michigan-sexually-assaulted-180223465--abc-news-topstories.html
Here's a link to her charity's website: http://recoveryonwater.org/
And here's a link to her blog: http://row4row.org/
It's a terrible ordeal and it's rather empowering to see her carry on with her journey. I hope they catch the bastard who did that to her. Best of luck to her, and I'll be keeping her in my thoughts.
P.S. In the past, a few of the threads dealing with sexual assault have had to be locked. Let's try not to let that happen and let's keep the discussion civil here.
From the looks of this April 3, 2011 article, almost everyone knew that Jerry Sandusky was into some dark, disturbing, disgusting things. The writer does seem to question the program and the actions of Paterno though.
The only question I have is that why, if everyone knew about it, was nothing done sooner?! Although we have a milion other Sandusky threads, I thought this was appropriate to show that this was an ongoing issue that everyone dragged their feet and shrugged their shoulders about in Happy Valley.
Best-case scenario: Charges are never brought, and Sandusky walks away with his reputation permanently scarred. The rumors, the jokes, the sideways glances - they won't ever stop. Paterno and Penn State do the great escape.
Worst-case scenario: Sandusky is charged. Then it seems reasonable to wonder: Did Penn State not make an issue of Sandusky's alleged behavior in 1998 in exchange for him walking away from the program at an age premature for most coaches? Did Penn State's considerable influence help get Sandusky off the hook?
(Full Disclosure: this post has nothing to do with Michigan athletes or athletics, but is about misconduct by current college athletes elsewhere being shielded by their respective university. Obv. if mods think too OT, well, do what you do.)
The Chicago Tribune has a long article interviewing and covering sexual assault by a number of athletes at Marquette University last year. (Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-marquette-sex-cases-20111028,0,4057558.story) The woman involved has been shunned by former friends and become a pariah and social leper, but has not caved.
Reading the article, my mind jumps to the shenanigans in the MSU dorms last year. I find it reprehensible that coaches and university administrations are complicit in protecting and shielding their athletes from any consequences. Over at our favorite school in Ohio, running back Jamaal Berry is under investigation for an alledged assault earlier this month (Link: http://www.thelantern.com/campus/lawsuit-filed-against-jaamal-berry-for-assault-battery-ethnic-intimidation-1.2669315#.TqrCmEPaWOp). And what do you know, the athletic administration isn't doing anything because no criminal charges have been filed yet.
Michigan is not perfect. I know about incidents in the past with players exposing themselves, and being charged with assault. Stupidity is part of human nature.
Having said that, I really hope that Hoke, his staff, the AD, and the university administration are united in dealing with any future incidents firmly and decisively. This is one area where I would rather we lose a solid player (if indeed assault occurred) and consequently, Michigan loses games, rather than shielding the player in the hope of winning more games.
I also really dislike a culture where students shun and mistreat a fellow student speaking up against something that is wrong (re: original Tribune story.) Anytime you have a "win at any cost" and "Winning isn't everything . . . winning is the only thing" mentality, something has gone dreadfully wrong. If Hoke is a coach who does things the right way, and is put up against a great coach who compromises in order to win, well, I'd go with Hoke every time.