The Nassar case was a wildfire. It tore through the media like an unstoppable tidal wave, made an overnight celebrity out of Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, and set records for how many victims were allowed to give impact statements during the trial.
The whole world tuned in to watch. And MSU, the university where Nassar worked and committed those terrible acts, came under greater scrutiny than Penn state in the wake of the Sandusky case.
MSU has remained in the spotlight
However, despite the fact that Nassar has been sentenced and will serve out the rest of his life behind bars, the troubles MSU is facing are far from over. After the trial ended civil suits were brought against MSU, sponsors cut ties with the university after survivors pressured them into not aligning with those who enabled Nassar, and multiple people in the university’s upper echelons were dragged out to face the music (like former MSU president Lou Anna Simon who is facing charges for knowing about the abuse and covering it up.)
The university suffered decreased enrollment last year
Former governor John Engler stepped in to serve as the interim president of MSU and almost immediately drew fire for the way he responded to the Nassar case. First he made a comment in an email suggesting that Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, was receiving “kickbacks” from a lawyer in return for stirring up other alleged victims to sue MSU. Once that became public, the backlash was instant. But it wasn’t over.
Engler made many enemies among the survivors
Engler, along with the board, made the decision to suspend, and then shut down the $10 million fund created to support the victims. When it was revealed that the fund wouldn’t have been enough to cover all of the survivors anyway, Engler noted that the other survivors not covered by the fund would “probably be okay.” In a recent interview he made a comment that implied the survivors of Nassar’s abuse were “enjoying the spotlight.” Again the backlash was immediate and savage.
MSU has suffered a great deal of damage so far
The university has been accused of being complicit in Nassar’s abuse by ignoring the repeated reports made by victims and continuing the “culture of silence” that fosters abuse. They’ve lost multiple employees as a result of the scandal, either through resignations or firings, and been called out for not being supportive of the survivors. All in all, MSU has a long road to walk before their reputation is likely to be restored. And it may never be the same. Child abuse allegations have the power to do that.