MSU pledges further policy review after gymnastics doc

The Detroit News

Michigan State University will thoroughly review its policies and procedures in response to accusations against one of its former sports doctors.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon said Thursday the university had planned to eventually revisit changes it had made in its Title IX program in 2014, but given recent events, it has decided to move quickly with the review.

She told the MSU Board of Trustees during a meeting Thursday the review would be held in the fall using independent experts for a top-to-bottom examination of the program.

“Given all the issues surrounding sexual assault we face as a society and as a campus community, I feel it is prudent to move forward with this review on an expedited scheduled,” Simon said in statement issued by the school.

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits educational programs or activities from discriminated against someone on the basis of their sex.

MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar has been accused in civil complaints of sexually abusing dozens of female athletes while treating them for sports-related injuries.

Nassar, who is in jail, faces three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in a case in Ingham County Circuit Court; 13 counts in Eaton County; and 23 counts in another Ingham County case.

Additionally, dozens of people have filed suit against Nassar in civil court. He has at least 100 accusers, according to attorneys.

Earlier this month, Nassar lost his license to practice medicine for three years.

The review also comes as four MSU football players are being investigated in connection with alleged sexual assaults.

During the MSU trustee meeting, Simon said MSU police continue to aggressively investigate the complaints regarding Nassar, working with federal authorities and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

The school also continues an internal review, she said.

It recently held a workshop for all MSU youth program directors that focused on promoting the safety of minors, she said. The school also will roll out an enhanced youth protection policy and additional education within the next 30 days, she said.

But Simon said school officials have been told it’s nearly impossible to stop determined sexual predators because they’re willing to go to great lengths to keep their actions secret.

“That may be true, but we at MSU must do all we can not only to ensure the safety of our patients but to protect youth who come to our campus in all capacities,” she said.

The school also has finished an initial review of MSU HealthTeam policies and practices, she said, and has strengthened policies involving informed consent and the role of chaperones.