Board Chair: Letter to MSU Community

Jan. 26, 2018

Dear MSU Community,

As you know, this week has been deeply significant for the survivors of Larry Nassar’s predation and abuse. One after another, they spoke out bravely in open court last week. They asked that their voices be heard, for responsiveness, for action. We acknowledge their voices and say to the survivors, their families, and everyone in our community affected by sexual violence that we are deeply sorry and we recognize that change is overdue.

Today, the Board of Trustees met to take important actions to begin a new day at MSU. We voted to formally accept the resignation of President Lou Anna K. Simon, effective immediately, and appointed Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees Bill Beekman as acting president. In addition, earlier today, Athletic Director Mark Hollis announced his retirement, effective Jan. 31. You can read his statement on the Athletics Department website. We thank him for his many years of service and contributions to MSU Athletics.

Mr. Beekman, who has served in his current role since 2008 and has been with the university in a variety of administrative roles since 1995, has agreed to serve for a short period while we identify an interim president. We will also begin a national search for MSU’s permanent president with input from all members of the MSU community—faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

But this is just the beginning. We acknowledge that there have been failures at MSU, not only in our processes and operations, but in our culture, and we are united in our determination to take all necessary steps to begin a new day and to change the environment at the university. The Board has initiated action to bring in an independent third-party to perform a top-to-bottom review of all our processes relating to health and safety, in every area of the university, and to provide recommendations that we will implement to change the culture of MSU on this important issue.

We also understand that survivors, their families, and the public have many questions about the Nassar matter, and we have asked the Attorney General’s Office to conduct a review of the events surrounding the situation. Today, we are calling on the Attorney General to begin this review as soon as possible and to appoint an independent third-party to promote bipartisan acceptance of the results.

Again, we are committed to taking action to create a culture that provides a safe environment for all members of our community, and the transition to new leadership will be a key component in helping us change course. The Board will play an integral role in these efforts and in making MSU a leader locally and nationally in preventing sexual abuse.

It is clear to the Board that we have not been focused enough on the survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse. We deeply regret this, and it is our hope is that there will be an opportunity soon to resume dialog with counsel for the survivors, resulting in a fair and just resolution.

We cannot change the past, but we can and will devote our time and resources to foster healing and to move forward together.


Brian Breslin
Chair, MSU Board of Trustees