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MSU president: No indication of larger problem with sexual assault in athletic department

Feb 17, 2017

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon says a pair of sexual assault investigations are not signs of larger issues within the athletic department. 

She says sexual assault will not be tolerated, but added it’s not unique to MSU.

“To make it an MSU problem in the reporting, from my perspective, and not a society problem that also happens to be at MSU, it does a disservice to the university,” Simon said.  

Simon says they're still figuring out who knew what and when about former gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar. Nassar is accused of assaulting dozens of women over two decades.

Last week, MSU announced three football players could face criminal charges stemming from an incident in January.

MSU launched a Title IX investigation and hired a law firm to look at the football program.

“I have no necessary concerns that there are big issues, but the confidence of the community requires that we look at it diligently,” she said.

Simon says she’s confident the two situations are not connected and hopes those considering an education at MSU can see that.

“Instead of trying to worry about the negative influence of that confluence, however random it is, we’re taking each one in their own way that fits the processes and procedures of the university and we’re going to do that straight up,” Simon said.

She says it’s been “frustrating” that she and others representing MSU haven’t been able to share much information about the Nassar case because of pending litigation. The university’s board of trustees on Friday declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, but instead read a written statement expressing “deep concern” about the allegations.