Ex-MSU prez Lou Anna Simon will get $2.45M retirement payout while facing criminal charges

Lou Anna Simon, former president of MSU, will receive a $2.45M retirement payout from the school. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Lou Anna Simon, the former president of Michigan State University who resigned amid the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal, is officially retiring on Aug. 31. And the school she resigned from in disgrace is giving her one heck of a retirement gift.

The Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday that MSU is giving Simon a retirement payout totaling $2.45 million, which will be paid to her in three installments. Simon was still on MSU’s faculty as a professor after resigning as president, but had been on unpaid leave due to the Nassar-related criminal charges she’s facing.

The payout is part of a retirement agreement between Simon and MSU. Under the terms of the agreement, Simon will hold the titles of president emeritus and faculty emeritus, and the perks mandated by her employment contract will continue to be honored (with the exception of free sports tickets). The agreement also mandates that Simon and her husband be recognized for the donations they’ve made to the university, and that Simon be recognized for her service to MSU — but if she’s convicted of a felony, her official photo will be taken down.

The stipulation that Simon’s photo will be removed if she’s convicted of a felony is certainly a weird one. You’d think her facing criminal charges for lying to police in the Nassar investigation while president of MSU would preclude her from receiving any kind of payout or perks — or that the penalty for conviction would be a bit more than the removal of her photo.

But in exchange for possibly removing the photo of the former university president who irreparably damaged the institution by allegedly lying to police about a man who sexually assaulted at least 250 girls and women, Simon promised that she won’t sue MSU. And even if she is convicted, the school will continue to recognize her and her husband’s charitable gifts to the university.

According to the Free Press, a judge is currently deciding whether Simon will stand trial for allegedly lying to police about her knowledge of a 2014 sexual assault complaint against Nassar, who was serving as an MSU sports medicine doctor.

Simon resigned in January 2018, just hours after Nassar’s 175-year sentence was handed down, following weeks of mounting pressure from students, alumni, faculty, the public and survivors of Nassar’s assaults. Former Michigan governor John Engler was named interim president, and he was forced to resign a year later due to his embarrassing handling of several Nassar incidents. In May, MSU named Samuel Stanley Jr., a medical doctor and former president of Stony Brook University, as its next president. Stanley’s first day is on Thursday.

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