Higher Education, Human Resources, and Law

Ex-MSU president receiving $2.5M retirement payout

July 31, 2019
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EAST LANSING — The former Michigan State University president accused of lying about her knowledge of allegations against sports doctor Larry Nassar is getting about $2.5 million as part of a retirement package and agreed not to sue the school.

The East Lansing school said yesterday Lou Anna Simon's retirement is effective Aug. 31. She resigned as president last year amid pressure, returned to a faculty position, and then took an unpaid leave while facing criminal charges. She has denied any cover-up by the university.

Under terms of the retirement, Simon will receive $2.45 million in three annual installments and other benefits. The agreement stipulates she won't sue the school or file any complaints or grievances related to her employment or termination.

The agreement does not appear to address how the pending criminal case could affect the terms of the agreement other than public recognition of her emeritus status being potentially withheld if she is convicted and that conviction survives all appeals.

University officials did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment on its reasoning for making the payment.

"Our campus community is continuing its healing, and the Board of Trustees feel the retirement of Dr. Simon is best for the university," said Dianne Byrum, chairwoman of the university's governing body, in a statement.

Simon said she will continue to support the school, including through philanthropy.

Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr., a medical researcher who has led Stony Brook University in New York for nearly a decade, was named the school's next president earlier this year and officially starts this week. He will take charge of a 50,000-student university that has been led by a string of acting or interim presidents since Simon resigned from the post.

A judge is expected to rule later this year on whether Simon should stand trial on two felonies and two misdemeanors. Authorities say she knew in 2014 that Nassar was accused of molesting a patient at a campus clinic.

Nassar is imprisoned for possessing child pornography and molesting hundreds of young athletes under the guise of treatment.

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