Here's what Michigan State University has done since Larry Nassar's trial

Weeks after the remarkable sentencing of longtime ...

Posted: Feb 15, 2018 11:31 AM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 11:31 AM

Weeks after the remarkable sentencing of longtime sexual abuser Larry Nassar, Michigan State University has made several changes in personnel, policy and procedure as it faces investigations into its role, if any, in the scandal.

Nassar, the doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, was sentenced to lengthy prison sentences and admitted to using his trusted position to sexually abuse young girls for more than two decades. Scores of them came forward and told heart-wrenching stories of his abuse, and several blamed Michigan State for dismissing their complaints and failing to stop him.

A lot has happened since the case ended and Nassar was incarcerated. Here's a look at some of the steps Michigan State has taken, including installing an interim president, furnishing more resources for Title IX complaints, and responding to a "daunting" number of requests for information from investigators.

New interim president

President Lou Anna Simon resigned last month amid the intensifying backlash due to Michigan State's continued employment of Nassar, even after some victims say they told school officials about his abuse. Several women, including Amanda Thomashow, said they complained about Nassar to those in power but were dismissed or ignored.

Father lunges at Nassar in courtroom

The university fired Nassar in 2016 after some of the allegations were made public by the Indianapolis Star, but school officials say they were not aware that Nassar committed any abuse prior to that time.

The week before Simon resigned, MSU said in a statement that "any suggestion that the university engaged in a cover-up is simply false."

John Engler, the former Republican Michigan governor from 1991-2003, was named interim president by the Board of Trustees. He was chosen "from outside the institution to provide strong leadership during this critical time," according to board Chairman Brian Breslin.

Engler said his main focus would be on the survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse.

"We owe it to them to fix the problems and to change the culture so that a better MSU will be their legacy, and that they know something positive came out of their suffering," he said, reading from a statement he said he wished never had had to be written.

Though the board of trustees unanimously voted to select Engler, students and faculty have criticized the decision and said their views were not considered in the process.

'Daunting' number of inquiry deadlines

In a letter to the Michigan State campus, Engler said the many investigations into the university's actions meant a "daunting" number of compliance deadlines.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed a special prosecutor to dig into Michigan State's role in Nassar's abuse and find out who knew what, when, and what they did about it. Separately, the Department of Education, US congressional committees, the NCAA and Michigan's House of Representatives have all launched investigations as well, Engler said.

"Add to these an accreditation agency inquiry and an ongoing blizzard of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and the volume of compliance deadlines Michigan State University faces is daunting," Engler wrote in the letter.

Firm hired to investigate

There has been a 35% increase in incident reports filed under the Title IX Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy from the 2015-16 academic year compared to 2016-2017, the university said. Because of the increased volume, the average investigation time has increased to 80 days, a "totally unacceptable" length, Engler said.

As such, MSU's Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) hired Kroll, a third-party investigative firm, to investigate complaints, the university announced on Wednesday. Their resources will supplement the existing nine OIE investigators, the university said.

"We are taking active steps to make MSU a shining example of Title IX compliance; 80 days is not only far too long for a response to a complaint, it's totally unacceptable," Engler said in a statement. "We owe it to all those who have been assaulted and had the bravery to step forward to have a safer MSU be their legacy."

MSU sexual assault survivors don't feel safe

Jessica Norris, MSU's Title IX director, suggested that the increase in Title IX reports was not necessarily a bad thing.

"We do not believe the additional reports reflect an increase in incidents, but rather a community that is aware of their rights and options to report both current and past incidents," Norris said in a statement.

MSU wants to revoke dean's tenure

The university moved last week to revoke the tenure of William Strampel, who was Nassar's boss as the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

A letter from Carol Viventi, vice president and special counsel to Engler, specifically calls out "Dr. Strampel's failure to monitor and enforce clinical practice guidelines put in place for former doctor Larry Nassar following the conclusion of a 2014 sexual harassment investigation."

That case concerns Amanda Thomashow's 2014 report to MSU officials in which she said Nassar touched her vagina and her breasts during a doctor's visit. Nassar told police and Strampel that this was part of his cutting-edge medical procedure, and he was cleared of wrongdoing.

According to Viventi's letter, Strampel issued new guidelines for Nassar after the investigation, but did not notify the MSU HealthTeam or establish a system to monitor or enforce those guidelines. Nassar abused more young girls from the time after he was cleared until his arrest in late 2016.

CNN left a message Wednesday at a number listed for William D. Strampel but received no response.

"It would be incompatible with the expectations for teaching and clinical faculty within the College of Osteopathic Medicine for Dr. Strampel to resume his faculty appointment given his lack of action described above," Viventi's letter states.

Strampel stepped down from the dean position in December citing health problems, but he remains a tenured professor and can only be dismissed if a faculty hearing committee finds cause exists to revoke tenure.

"I sincerely hope the courageous survivors of Larry Nassar will see this as an unmistakable indication that things are changing quickly at Michigan State," Engler said.

West Lafayette
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
82° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 91°
Rensselaer
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Frankfort
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 65°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 95°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 95°
Logansport
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Active Weather Pattern for the Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events