Nassar survivors:MSU president must act after 'complete betrayal' by board

David Jesse, Detroit Free Press

A group of Michigan State University board members — including one elected based on a reform campaign — used months of behind-the-scenes emails, texts and phone calls to first stall a true independent investigation of the university's handling of the Larry Nassar scandal. Then they killed it.

The death came behind closed doors last week even as the federal government was issuing a scathing report of MSU's actions that both levied a record-breaking fine and still left dozens of questions unanswered.

The decision was a complete betrayal of Nassar survivors, a trio of survivors who had been working with the board said Monday.

"We are deeply disappointed and disgusted once again with the recent conduct of Trustees Diane Byrum, Brianna Scott, Melanie Foster and Joel Ferguson regarding their decision to block the pursuit of an independent investigation into Larry Nassar’s sexual misconduct," said a statement from Rachael Denhollander, Sarah Klein and Sterling Riethman. "These four trustees have continually demonstrated a complete lack of moral conviction to pursue the truth and ensure that what Larry did to hundreds of women and children never happens to anyone ever again on MSU’s campus.

"Moreover, Trustee Dianne Byrum’s weak, deceitful leadership and Trustee Brianna Scott’s complete lack of ethical integrity to do what is right is a complete betrayal of the promises and representations they have made in public to support survivors."

The trio said they see one way to save the investigation and give the survivors what they've been pleading for repeatedly for the last two years: new MSU President Samuel Stanley should step in and hire the firm to do the investigation anyway.

"If this board refuses to act because of the lack of moral conviction and personal integrity of a few trustees, then it is imperative that President Stanley use his executive authority to launch an internal investigation to morally do what is right to find out the truth so that his administration and its sexual misconduct and relationship violence expert advisers can be properly informed to advise him on a path forward," the statement said. "Board consent is not necessary for you to take this action, it is within the president’s legal and statutory authority to do so.

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