Sept. 5 (UPI) — Michigan State University will pay a $4.5 million fine for covering up sexual abuse by former professor and Olympic gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar, who was convicted of abusing more than 500 women and girls, the U.S. Department of Education ruled Thursday.
Nassar is serving what amounts to a life sentence in Michigan for sexually abusing his patients while working for MSU. Last month, MSU Dean William Strampel was sentenced to a year in jail for his role in the Nassar scandal. Prosecutors said Strampel showed “complete indifference” about Nassar’s illicit behavior.
The university was cleared of any wrongdoing by the National Collegiate Athletic Association last year.
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos disagreed with the NCAA, saying the fines are a result of the systemic failure of the university to protect students. She also directed MSU to make changes to its Title IX procedures.
“What transpired at Michigan State was abhorrent, inexcusable and a total and complete failure to follow the law and protect students,” DeVos said in a statement. “Michigan State will now pay for its failures and will be required to make meaningful changes to how it handles Title IX cases moving forward. No future student should have to endure what too many did because concerns about Larry Nassar and William Strampel were ignored.”
This follows an investigation by the Office for Civil Rights and the Federal Student Aid office.
The specific violations include a failure to properly classify reported incidents of sexual assault and disclose crime statistics, a failure to issue timely warnings, a failure to identify and notify campus security authorities and a lack of administrative capability.
“I want to thank each of the survivors who came forward and shared their stories,” DeVos said in a statement. “Doing so took an incredible amount of courage. Never again should incidents of sexual misconduct on campuses — or anywhere — be swept under the rug.”