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Michigan State to Unveil Portrait of Disgraced Ex-President

December 6, 2022

When Lou Anna K. Simon resigned from the presidency of Michigan State University in 2018 at the height of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, she narrowly avoided criminal charges—but still managed to collect $2.45 million on her way out the door. Now she’ll also receive an official presidential portrait at MSU.

Prosecutors in the Nassar case alleged that Simon was aware of the charges against Nassar—who is now serving a lifetime prison sentence—and reportedly lied to investigators about that knowledge, but the Court of Appeals found no evidence to support that. Simon's exit has led to a revolving door at Michigan State, and she is one of three presidents there toppled by Title IX issues.

Now, according to The Lansing State Journal, Simon will have her presidential portrait unveiled at Michigan State in a private ceremony scheduled for Dec. 19. Commissioning a portrait was part of Simon’s retirement agreement, according to the Journal, which noted that a private unveiling ceremony was not part of the agreement. The unveiling ceremony will reportedly be hosted by Michigan State’s Board of Trustees, which has also faced criticism on Title IX issues.

A university spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry about why the unveiling ceremony was planned, and it remains unclear where the portrait of Simon will be displayed at Michigan State.

The move to honor Simon has been criticized by sexual assault victims and advocates at MSU.

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