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MSU President responds to dropped investigation

Posted at 8:00 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 04:52:46-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University's president is responding to criticism about the decision to drop an internal investigation about how the university handled the aftermath of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

President Samuel Stanley says he's focusing on the results of investigations already done. He says that the federal investigation was complete and MSU is already paying a $4.5 million price. But that's not an answer students on campus say they wanted to hear.

"Obviously when I first heard about it I was enraged, to be honest," said MSU student Layla Bellissimo.

She says after their latest cancellation of a planned independent investigation she's had enough.

"As students of this university we hear a lot of things and people from outside say a lot of things but I wanna know what's being done now," said Bellissimo.

Similar sentiments shared by "wave two" Nassar survivors at the last Board of Trustee meetings. University President Samuel Stanley Jr. says he gets it.

"Obviously I can understand how people would feel if something was promised and then not done. I can understand that feeling,” said Stanley. “As it stands for me right now I have an OCR letter that's come to me with a whole series of things that I need to do including evaluate some of the results of their investigation in terms of personnel and so on so that's what I'm really focused on."

Stanley says there's already been 12 investigations done and feels the federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is enough.

"The OCR investigation is an independent one. It was fairly comprehensive and so I need to work on that and use it as a blueprint going forward so we can really improve and make some of the changes that need to be made," said Stanley.

But Bellisimo says there are still unanswered questions.

"If you do want answers you have to keep pushing for it," said Bellissimo.

Dan Beaudrie, also a student at the university, agrees.

"In situations where institutions are doing something like that, stopping investigations or trying to keep things secret, that usually means they're trying to hide something,” said Beaudrie.

The Attorney General’s office said they continue to stand by their request for MSU to waive attorney-client privilege on the remaining 6,000 documents they continue to withhold.

President Stanley also says that the university is still planning to honor Provost June Youatt's contract and her right as a faculty member, which allows her six months of time off and six months of sabbatical.

Youatt resigned after last week's $4.5 million fine by the Department of Education.

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