MSU Mediation Ends

Mediation of federal lawsuits between MSU and women who were victims of Larry Nassar is complete. The parties agreed back in August to three months of mediation. One of the plaintiff attorneys, Mick Grewal, stated then that they hoped to receive sexual abuse counseling for the victims, as well as changes in policies and procedures at MSU. The mediator, Grand Rapids-area attorney Jon Muth, is one of the most well-respected mediators in the state. He was a logical choice for this tough assignment.

Mediation ended recently, and the plaintiffs got at least one of their wishes: the MSU Board of Trustees announced today that it has set up a $10 million fund for counseling and mental health services as part of its “commitment to support Nassar’s victims.” Simon said this was the first board meeting after the mediation ended, implying that the board today ratified offers its representatives made in the mediation. (The actual terms of a mediated agreement are typically confidential.) MSU President LouAnna K. Simon also announced in an email to “the MSU community” a review of MSU policies and procedures, although she did not say that any changes had  actually been made. She referred readers to MSU’s “Our Commitment” web-site, which headlines that an independent investigation determined that MSU is compliant with Title IX requirements.

The end of this mediation, and the ratification by the Board of Trustees, by no means ends the conflict between MSU and the women abused by Nassar. President Simon apologized during the board meeting this afternoon, but some women criticized it. “I do not feel that the apology from Lou Anna Simon was heartfelt,” Kaylee Lorincz, one of Nassar’s victims, said after the meeting, according to the Lansing State Journal.  As with all public apologies, and especially when there is ongoing litigation (of dozens of cases filed in state court), President Simon must walk a fine line in what she says in her apology. However, the first element of a good apology is to take responsibility, and MSU has yet to do that publicly. In her letter today to the MSU community, Simon quoted from the statement of its outside attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald: “The evidence will show that no MSU official believed that Nassar committed sexual abuse.” That may indeed be the problem: the young women were complaining to various MSU officials, and no official believed them.

 

One Trackback

  1. By The Dark Side of Confidentiality – Anne Bachle Fifer on December 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    […] « MSU Mediation Ends […]

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