EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– At the first Board of Trustees meeting of the school year, president Samuel Stanley’s message was clear: a change must come.
“As an institution, we must acknowledge the oversight and errors of the past,” he said. “And we must take actions that advance healing and ensure that this is a safe, welcoming and respectful campus for all.”
It’s a tall order not just for Stanley, but for MSU leadership as a whole. An investigation from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found that MSU failed its students by not properly handling allegations of sexual harassment and assault against staff, including former sports doctor Larry Nassar and former Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel.
Some at the meeting say even the biggest ever fine under the Clery Act that the university must pay isn’t enough.
“MSU was fined $4.5 million, but that’s a slap on the wrist for a multi-billion dollar university,” student Lauren Sosinski said during public comment. “There is not enough being done to ensure the safety of the students nor enough to even begin to right the wrongs this university has committed over the years, especially in regards to the survivors involved in this scandal.”
The school has taken some action. June Youatt stepped down as Provost, and Stanley appointed an oversight committee to make sure the school follows guidelines set by the Department of Education to make campus safer.
“It’s very important that we get this right,” Stanley said. “It’s very important that everybody in the university knows that we’re going to be monitoring, we’re going to be looking at units, we’re going to be seeing who’s complying, not complying with what we need to do and we’ll be taking actions accordingly.”
Stanley has plans to meet with survivors of Larry Nassar in the coming weeks. Trustees Brianna Scott and Kelly Tebay will hold a town hall on September 23 to give members of the m-s-u community a chance to voice their concerns to the board.