MSU Faculty push for external investigation of Nassar

Mar 1, 2017

Over 140 faculty members at Michigan State University have signed a letter urging the school to hand over the investigation of Larry Nassar to an external agency.

The letter was read on Tuesday during a university council meeting.

MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon was in attendance.

The investigation is currently being led by the MSU police department.

Nassar faces several charges, including sexual assault, possession of child pornography and also faces civil lawsuits from women who claim they were assaulted by him.

The full text of the letter:

We, the undersigned faculty, want the best for Michigan State University--the institution, its people, and its image.

Like many others, we are concerned about the allegations, investigations, and legal proceedings Associated with the Dr. Larry Nassar case. While we are confident that University leaders are engaging capably in addressing this matter, there is an issue that prompts this letter.

We believe that a body or bodies external to the University should take the lead in the Nassar investigation. That recommendation applies to both the Title IX and criminal investigation. For us, it is not a question of whether MSU Police can take the lead competently. It is a question of ensuring investigative independence. Hiring external consultants is not sufficient.

The guilt or innocence of an accused is not the only matter at hand. Public perception is critically important. MSU Police are accountable to the MSU administration and that portrays a lack of investigative independence. Moreover, that could give the appearance that MSU has something to hide, even if it does not.

Regardless of who leads the investigation, eventually the truth will come out. MSU will be far better off for having allowed external investigators to uncover whatever truth remains to be revealed.

We know that the University is not obligated legally to make an investigative shift. But we believe that voluntarily passing the baton will reaffirm public trust in Michigan State University.