Tuesday afternoon, attorneys representing 332 claimants would reach an agreement with Michigan State University representatives. And that settlement will see victims of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse receive $500 million. That’s an astronomical number, of course, but one very fitting of Nassar’s crimes.
However, this settlement agreement does not include any provisions for policy changes. It also doesn’t acknowledge claims made against Michigan State, both of which disappoint Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse. Per Dan Murphy and John Barr:
“I’m very grateful for the historic number that acknowledges some of the hardships that these women have suffered. I’m also very disappointed in a missed opportunity to create meaningful policy changes.”
These victims earning this settlement is a good step forward. Nassar going straight to hell (or wherever one goes when they do what Nassar did) is just fine. But there has to be policy changes. And that sort of thing starts at the very top. In that sense, Michigan State is dropping the ball. All the money in the world isn’t going to fix the problem. That’s what policies are for.
Of the $500 million, $425 million will go to those who are currently part of lawsuits. The other $75 million goes into a reserve for two years for anyone else who comes forward with claims about Nassar’s abuse. But Denhollander doesn’t want to stop there.
“The general tenor is that we’re not done yet,” she adds.
That’s great, but it’s up to those in charge to actually make changes. Until then, we are going to see the same thing happen over and over again. Not to the degree of Nassar, perhaps, but it doesn’t have to be to that degree. Abuse is abuse, and it needs to end.