Because MSU President Lou Anna Simon finally fell on her sword in the Nassar Sexual Assault Imbroglio, does that mean justice has been done and no further punishment needs to be meted out to anyone?
Not at all. The entire MSU Board of Trustees should be immediately purged from office, however that is accomplished. After all, Simon was merely the handmaiden of a board that appointed her, offered her a hefty salary hike last year while the Nassar scandal was metastasizing, and stood behind her 100% as recently as last Friday.
One way the trustees could be jettisoned would be for Gov. Rick Snyder to take swift action under Article V, Sec. 10, of the Constitution to “remove … from office for gross neglect of duty or for corrupt conduct in office, or for any other misfeasance or malfeasance in office therein, any elective or appointive state officer, except legislative or judicial …”
Furthermore, Snyder could then “make a provisional appointment to fill a vacancy occasioned by the suspension of an appointed or elected officer … until the vacancy is filled in the manner prescribed by law or this constitution,” according to Article V, Section 11, of the same basic charter.
But don’t expect any such action from Snyder, who appears not to have learned anything from his dithering three years ago over the Flint Water Crisis, which caused him his most embarrassing failure because he failed to get on top of it until it was too late. Already Snyder seems to be trying to avoid responsibility to do anything about MSU, first denying that he has the constitutional power to do so. WRONG! Now his mouthpieces have walked that back somewhat, saying that, well, maybe he does, but he’ll probably just allow the state House of Representatives to launch “impeachment” proceedings if it’s so disposed. If legislators did launch such deliberations, how long would they drag out — amidst a torrent of negative publicity for MSU — until some resolution is reached? Would this be the way for the university to “move forward” under “new leadership” which would ostensibly “begin the healing process.”
Because who would choose the “new leadership”? Right now, it would be the same feckless board which has disgraced itself with its incompetent handling of “l’affaire Nassar.” Already, names like former Governors John Engler, James Blanchard and Jennifer Granholm are being mentioned as interim presidents. SERIOUSLY? Each of these ex-governors carries a ton of baggage, and we can’t forget that the current MSU panel is divided between four Republicans and four Democrats. No majority there.
Let’s face it — Simon has always been a mediocrity as MSU president. She was on cruise control during her entire 13-year tenure, with zero charisma, and she never faced a crisis — UNTIL NOW, and she failed it miserably. In her letter of resignation, Simon claimed she had planned to retire voluntarily at the end of 2016 but stayed on because of the burgeoning Nassar calamity. If so, you sure wouldn’t have known it by her handling of the situation over the past 15 months. So inept was her administration’s performance that there was never even a unified, coherent message from Simon, the board of trustees, or anyone at the university about what to say or do. Revered basketball coach Tom Izzo was thus gulled into shaming himself with uninformed gibberish in response to a reporter’s question after a recent game, for which he had to apologize.
There is really only one person who could take charge and “fix” the current impasse so that the “healing” could begin, if that is in fact still possible. That person is the Governor of the State of Michigan. He could remove ALL the trustees without picking which are the good ones to keep and the bad ones to throw away. He could appoint a new interim president. Snyder could make sure that a NON-PARTISAN figure is chosen as the university’s temporary CEO, and that a new board is “balanced” between Democrats and Republicans, or among non-partisans. In fact, Snyder would probably have more credibility doing that than any governor since William G. Milliken. Sure, such an action by Snyder could be challenged in court, but Snyder’s attitude should be “BRING IT ON.”
Bottom line: There needs to be a “clean house” at MSU, with all new players. Snyder could make sure that those he appoints actually know more about the university, its history, its needs, and its way forward than those who have been broomed off the table.
But will he do it?