Tomorrow afternoon, perhaps one of the most highly awaited Senate testimonies in recent memory is scheduled to take place with former MSU President Lou Anna Simon taking center stage. At the heart of the matter: She will be pushed repeatedly on who knew what and when in the Larry Nassar case and how his terrible transgressions were allowed to continue for some 20 years.
Simon is sure to be “lawyered up” and in self protection mode. No doubt she will continue to maintain that she was unaware of the situation until the investigation formally broke. But, this time, will she at all demonstrate what many are still calling for from the university: stated compassion for the victims? An apology?
The first time around, insiders say, Simon was given bad advice by her lawyers. “Stay under the radar,” they told her, “Keep your head down.” This, rather than doing what a true leader should do in any crisis: Take responsibility; stand “front and center;” show emotion and understanding; communicate corrective actions and a resolve to ensure what happened will not happen again. Not under their watch.
Simon has a real opportunity tomorrow as she sits in the hot seat behind a microphone and in front of elected officials and the media. She should show some humanity and emotion. For the victims. For the students. For alumni and more. Because whether she knew or didn’t know, terrible things did occur under her watch and for far too long. One would hope that bothers her. And one would hope that somehow, someway tomorrow and for the first time as MSU looks to heal, she expresses exactly that.