- Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon will receive three annual payments totaling $2.45 million after she retires at the end of August, the university announced Tuesday.
- Simon, who worked at Michigan State for 45 years, will hold the titles of president emeritus and professor emeritus and will receive vested retirement and other benefits.
- Her retirement comes eight months after she took an unpaid leave of absence to face charges of lying to police during the investigation into Larry Nassar, a former university sports doctor who sexually abused patients.
Simon left her role at the helm of the university in January 2018, after more than 150 women shared their stories of abuse at the hands of Nassar during his seven-day sentencing hearing. She stepped down into a prestigious professorship at the university.
Later that year, however, she was charged with four counts of lying to police about her possible knowledge of Nassar's abuse before he was arrested. If she’s convicted, she could face up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Simon's retirement agreement says Michigan State will take down her official photo if she is convicted, the Detroit Free Press reported. Her emeritus status would also be revoked. It also dictates that Michigan State highlight her donations to the university and recognize her service.
Simon's retirement package has drawn criticism.
"By allowing her to retire, MSU is invalidating the gravity of the situation, and letting the community and survivors know that the culture of abuse and lack of accountability will continue to be ignored at MSU," Grace French, one of Nassar's victims, said in a statement to The Detroit News.
Meanwhile, the student advocacy group Reclaim MSU has called on the board to revoke her faculty title.
A Michigan State gymnastics coach also faces charges of lying to police, while Nassar's former boss has been convicted on charges of willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office.
Michigan State has struggled to restore its reputation in the aftermath of the scandal. The state's attorney general's office accused the university in December of stonewalling its investigation and Simon's interim replacement stepped down over disparaging remarks made about Nassar's victims.
In June, the university said it would hire a law firm to conduct an investigation of how its officials handled allegations of sexual abuse by Nassar.
"Our campus community is continuing its healing, and the Board of Trustees feels the retirement of Dr. Simon is best for the university," the board's chairperson, Dianne Byrum, said in the announcement.
Samuel Stanley Jr., former president of Stony Brook University, will become Michigan State's president on Thursday. He has said he plans to make meeting with sexual abuse victims a priority.
"I know the Spartan community has been profoundly troubled by the events of the past years that have shaken confidence in the institution," he said in a statement. "We will meet these challenges together and build on the important work that has already been done to create a campus culture of diversity, inclusion, equity, accountability and safety."