MSU trustee criticized for spilling details in sex case

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

East Lansing — A Michigan State University trustee apologized Wednesday for revealing that former football player Auston Robertson was the person who reported three of his teammates were involved in an alleged sexual assault on campus in January.

Mitch Lyons said during an MSU board meeting he “deeply regrets” his previous comments on the “Huge Show” on WBBL-FM in Grand Rapids earlier this month.

During the show, Lyons said Robertson was the player who reported a Jan. 16 incident that led to sexual assault charges and the team dismissal of football players Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance. He had read a confidential report, along with other trustees, about the alleged incident.

Lyons made his comments after MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum called on him to apologize on Wednesday. Trustee Brian Mosallam also asked Lyons to clarify comments he made the day after he was on the radio show when Lyons said he “misspoke.”

Lyons responded by saying he “cross-pollinated” cases the university was investigating and his comments had nothing to do with his point on the show.

“My point was (MSU football coach Mark) Dantonio was above reproach for how he handled the investigations,” Lyons said.

Robertson himself was accused of sexual assault in a separate case and was charged with third-degree criminal sexual assault in late April after an alleged incident in Meridian Township on April 9. Dantonio dismissed him from the team on April 21 after the charges were authorized in 55th District Court.

Board Vice Chairman Joel Ferguson suggested on Wednesday trustees should privately discuss their concerns regarding one another and not air so publicly.

“Sometimes, we haven’t always agreed with each other but we’ve never been disagreeable to each other,” Ferguson said. “If we disagree with each .... we (don’t) have to take it public. We all have each other emails and phone numbers.”

But after the meeting, MSU President Lou Anna Simon said otherwise.

“We are a society that is learning how to deal with these issues, and do it publicly and aggressively,” Simon said. “Because these are issues that have been there all along and not talked about it. It means that people are going to make some comments that I might like, I might dislike. But we are going to move forward together.”