President Simon isn’t fooling anyone with her video addressing sexual assault

When will the university actually accept responsibility?

On May 5, MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon sent out a video to the Spartan community as a followup to an earlier communication about the sexual assaults on campus. Her video was meant to address the investigations into allegations against former MSU physician Larry Nassar, a number of still-unnamed members of the MSU football team, and former freshman football player Auston Robertson. It also introduces MSU’ new website for sexual assault issues, called “Our Commitment.”

Simon’s video could have been an effective way to reassure the Spartan community that the university is finally taking sexual assault on campus seriously – if it were delivered with at least a hint of sincerity or empathy – but it unfortunately does quite the opposite.

It is a sad excuse of a video, to say the least.

Speaking on a subject she claims to be so passionate about, you’d think there would be at least a little bit of life to her voice and to her eyes, but none of that comes across. It’s hard to believe that she is speaking from the heart.

Our president, who claims that “we are determined to be better tomorrow than we are today,” doesn’t seem to be following her own words of advice. Instead of taking swift action and reassuring students that she cares, she is pawning everything off on this new website. Now, some random group within the administrative offices of the university get to carefully pick and choose articles and blog posts about the sexual assault trend on campus to post on the page. It’s essentially just another PR stunt to make the university look good without actually solving anything.

It’s time for Simon herself to step up and hold herself and the university accountable. Instead of deadpanning vague remarks that don’t update anyone about the critical situation, let us know what’s really going on.

Instead of passing the blame with problematic statements – like “I have been told it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile, that they will go to incomprehensible lengths to keep what they do in the shadows,” and “there’s no way you can have this many human beings in a space and have people not make mistakes” – actually accept responsibility. Start following through with promises about how sexual assault will not be tolerated, and start with having some empathy. Make the difference that your position of power allows you to make.

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