This January, the horrific history of sexual assault at MSU was brought to light because of the inhumane actions of Larry Nassar. For two decades, his abuse was ignored and victims silenced. When given a listening ear were able to speak their truth. Now, the students of MSU stand in solidarity with the victims to demand the truth, to demand change, and to prevent history from repeating itself.
When asked, many students said they were well informed about the case and that it had become a topic of daily discussion with their peers and in classrooms. Few were surprised by the news. The most chilling reaction came from MSU student Kristina Ballnik, who said, “I wasn’t surprised at all. I was just wondering how many Larry Nassars are out there.”
Human Biology senior Bryan, who did not want us to publish his last name, agrees, although he was less surprised and more disappointed that it was happening at MSU. “Sexual abuse in sports is common, as well as covering it up,” he said. He first learned about the issue through the State News and other student publications. Bryan is concerned by how little the university acknowledged the issue, especially as it was making national headlines. He believes there should be an independent internal investigation of everyone involved to address what happened.
Despite former MSU president LouAnna K. Simon resigning, there are students who believe that her resignation is not enough. It’s clear that any trust the student body had with MSU’s higher-ups has been broken. “The entire Board of Trustees should be vetted…we should ask the survivors who they went to, who they talked to, and who ignored them,” said Kristina Ballnik.
Studio Art senior Molly, who also did not want us to print her last name, calls on her peers to participate in the conversation currently occurring at MSU. “I hope that we will have leaders that will implement new regulations, educate students on consent, and take survivors seriously.” She has recently made her opinion known to the Board of Trustees and other MSU leaders by attending protests and talking daily with other students. Her senior art project is centered around victims of sexual assault and abuse, which she hopes will cultivate more awareness.
Updates are coming in every week. It’s common for students to feel trapped and overwhelmed by the problems occurring at their university.. Still, we must be proactive in order to implement the change we want. “I hope that MSU will learn from the horrible mistakes they made and make our campus a safer place for everyone,” says Molly.
Desharra Alexander-Self is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in Japanese. Some of the things she enjoys is Tumblr, Japanese/Korean media, video games, DIY beauty videos, free food and finding random things to be excited about (like sheep, mythology and Italian literature). You can follow her on social media under @Queen_Aelise.
Lauren Utykanski enjoys blueberry green tea, the farmer’s market, and travelling. They told her olympic dog walking doesn’t exist yet, so instead she decided to study professional writing with a minor in museum studies. Keep up with her on Instagram at @laurenuty.