Over 100 MSU staff sign letter asking for external investigation into Nassar

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Over 100 Michigan State University faculty members have signed a letter submitted and read Tuesday afternoon at a university council meeting asking the university to have an external organization investigation the Dr. Larry Nassar case.

Right now, campus police are leading the Nassar investigation.

President Lou Anna K. Simon was present at the meeting.

Retired with over three decades of working for MSU, Professor Emeritus Frank Fear worked to gather signatures for the letter.

Fear says social media was used in obtaining signatures and by Wednesday morning suspects over 150 signatures have been gathered.

"MSU police are the ones responsible for gathering the evidence and part of what they're doing is investigating the university," said John Kerr, an MSU professor who read the letter at Tuesday night's meeting. "But the MSU police report to the university so it's hard to to see how to avoid appearances of conflict of interest or of the possibility that there will be some information that isn't investigated thoroughly enough."

The letter states :

"We, the undersigned faculty, want the best for Michigan State University--the institution, its people, and its image.

Like many others, we are concerned about the allegations, investigations, and legal proceedings Associated with the Dr. Larry Nassar case. While we are confident that University leaders are engaging capably in addressing this matter, there is an issue that prompts this letter.

We believe that a body or bodies external to the University should take the lead in the Nassar investigation. That recommendation applies to both the Title IX and criminal investigation. For us, it is not a question of whether MSU Police can take the lead competently. It is a question of ensuring investigative independence. Hiring external consultants is not sufficient.

The guilt or innocence of an accused is not the only matter at hand. Public perception is critically important. MSU Police are accountable to the MSU administration and that portrays a lack of investigative independence. Moreover, that could give the appearance that MSU has something to hide, even if it does not.

Regardless of who leads the investigation, eventually the truth will come out. MSU will be far better off for having allowed external investigators to uncover whatever truth remains to be revealed.

We know that the University is not obligated legally to make an investigative shift. But we believe that voluntarily passing the baton will reaffirm public trust in Michigan State University."

Michigan State University responded to the letter Wednesday afternoon.

"We appreciate the concern and viewpoints raised by faculty members and others. As President Simon has said, we are confident in the robustness of the MSUPD criminal investigation and the internal reviews that are underway."