New MSU Trustee plans to review withheld Nassar documents

Published: Dec. 13, 2019 at 4:18 PM EST
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Michigan State University's newest trustee, Renee Knake, is jumping right into the middle of the school's biggest controversy, planning to review thousands of documents from the Larry Nassar scandal.

Survivors of former MSU sport’s doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse addressed the Board of Trustees on Friday renewing their call for transparency.

"Over and over we have just asked for accountability and transparency and the fact that they invited the AG into the university, and then refused to turn over the documents. I mean what are they hiding," said Amanda Thomashow, who is a Nassar survivor.

For months, the group has asked the university to release around 6,000 pages of documents that MSU says are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Now, Thomashow hopes Knake will act.

"Renee, I'm excited to see you on this board. I hope we can work together, sorry we're meeting this way," Thomashow said during the meeting.

Knake says she will look into those documents.

"Next week, I will begin personally reviewing the privileged documents from the Nassar investigation. When I see those materials with my own eyes, I will have an informed basis to make recommendations about how they should be handled," said Knake.

If Knake’s recommendation is that those documents should be turned over, Board President Dianne Byrum says that's a conversation the board will have.

"I don't want to pre-judge what the board will decide, but the entire issue of the privileged documents has been one that we've had legitimate disagreements on," said Byrum.

Knake will also attend trauma communication and practice training. She invited the rest of the board to join her.

"We are all here to make Michigan State a more inclusive, diverse, impactful and safe university for students, alumni, faculty, and staff. An important aspect of this is how the university addresses the harms suffered by survivors of Larry Nassar's calculated abuse as well as the sexual misconduct that continues on this campus today," said Knake.

Knake replaces Nancy Schlichting, who resigned back in October.

Knake will serve the rest of her term which ends in 2023.

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