Michigan State trustee demands culture change after Nassar: ‘Never again’

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Michigan State Board of Trustee Brian Mosallam is aiming to change the institution’s culture in the wake of the Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Mosallam released a series of suggested policies on Tuesday, May 8 he hopes will be approved by the school’s eight-person governing body. | Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

A member of Michigan State University’s governing body released a series of proposals Tuesday he says are aimed at changing the institution’s culture in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

“Our culture must change and improve,” Brian Mosallam, one of eight people who is on the university’s board of trustees, said in a release. “We must admit failure when it happens. We must say sorry when we do wrong. We must hold ourselves accountable for what happens on this campus.”

One of Mosallam’s proposals calls for an independent, internal review of the Nassar matter to begin immediately. Nassar, a former doctor who treated Michigan State athletes and U.S. Olympians, was sentenced this year to decades in prison for sexual abuse.

“We only need five votes,” Mosallam, a former Michigan State football player, said.

He’s also calling for a faculty member and a student to be on the board of trustees, giving them voting rights for presidential searches along with costs for tuition, room and board. He wants the school to hire an independent sexual misconduct ombudsman and to create a sexual misconduct survivors advisory committee.

Michigan State has drawn criticism because many victims have said the reported Nassar’s abuse to various members of the university’s staff. Campus police got their first report regarding Nassar in 2014, but the Ingham County prosecutor declined to file charges. The school continued to employ him after he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation in 2014. Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages resigned last year after she was suspended for defending Nassar.

Mosallam said the school “must constantly be focused on how we can improve and do better by our entire Spartan community.”

“We can start this by ending our defensive posture, embracing a policy of drastic voluntary remediation, and collaboratively engaging our courageous survivors in a dialogue about how we can culturally improve MSU so we can all proudly stand tall again as Spartans and say: never again,” he said.

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