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Michigan State Trustee Calls for Culture Change

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A member of the Michigan State board of trustees is calling for changes to policy and an independent investigation into the university itself in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal that shook the campus community and the school’s leadership.

Nassar, formerly a doctor with the school’s gymnastics team, sexually assaulted hundreds of girls and women during his tenure. He was sentenced in February to a period of up to 175 years in prison after weeks of dramatic testimony from his victims.

Since the claims against Nassar came to light, Michigan State officials, including the board of trustees and the school president have come under intense criticism.

The Lansing State Journal reports that trustee Brian Mosallam released a plan titled “New Day MSU.” In the eight-page document, Mosallam calls for a number of reforms, including the creation of an independent sexual misconduct ombudsman position, the creation of a sexual misconduct surviors’ advisory committee, board member positions for both the faculty and the student body, an independent investigation into the school’s handling of sexual misconduct, and the termination of any individuals found to have acted “contrary to our values.”

Mosallam also offered a mea culpa of sorts, writing in an email, “We failed to listen. And because we failed to listen, the cries of our courageous survivors of sexual misconduct on this campus went unheard.”

"We must listen. We must learn. Now, together, we must fight to do what is right by our Spartan Community, especially our courageous survivors," Mosallam wrote.

Board members were made aware of the plan on Tuesday, though most did not respond to the State Journal's requests for comment. One member, Dianne Byrum, released a statement saying "I have been clear that Michigan State University must greatly increase transparency and accountability, and make changes throughout our university to ensure we can say 'never again.' I am committed to working together with all members of the Board and the university community to change the broken culture at MSU, which starts with ensuring full transparency and an uncompromising commitment to accountability at every level."

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