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MSU President Lou Anna Simon resigns

Posted at 7:47 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 19:48:40-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. --  Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon announced Wednesday that she is resigning in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.

There were growing calls for Simon to step aside over criticism that MSU mishandled complaints that former campus doctor Nassar was sexually assaulting athletes.

"As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable," Simon's letter of resignation says.  "As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger."

MSU Board of Trustees Chair Brian Breslin issued a statement saying the board accepted Simon's resignation and is working on the details of the transition. "We agree with Dr. Simon that it is now time for change," the statement says.

"Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first," Simon wrote in her resignation. "Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me. I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement."

Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison. The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of victims were able to confront him face to face in an Ingham County courtroom.

"I have tried to make it not about me," Simon's letter says. "I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now.  Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement."

Simon, who earned her doctorate at Michigan State in 1974, was promoted to school president in 2005 .

The Detroit Free Press and The State News reported earlier Wednesday on Simon's plans to step down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report