MSU: Upgraded building has office for ex-president

April 6, 2018

Michigan State University’s former president, who resigned amid the fallout over the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, is slated to have an office at a newly renovated building on the East Lansing campus, school representatives confirmed Thursday.

Lou Anna Simon and her husband, the senior adviser to the executive vice president for administrative services, are among four people expected to relocate to the Wills House once upgrades are complete, university spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said.

An employment agreement that Simon signed in late 2012 guarantees many post-presidency benefits that kicked in with her resignation Jan. 24, the same day an Ingham County judge sentenced Nassar to 40-175 years in prison for sexually abusing young athletes over more than two decades.

Among them: if she returns to the faculty, MSU is required to provide Simon with a suitable office, secretarial services, computer, technology, support and other office tools.

Simon could earn her full $750,000 salary during a one-year research leave. She could earn the full salary for another year as a faculty member, then 75 percent of that in subsequent years, or $562,500 annually, according to the agreement.

Simon could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor and her husband are slated to join a former university physician and a professor emeritus at Wills House, Guerrant said.

“The renovations for Wills House started six months ago and were needed to make updates to the older building, including handicap accessibility and providing space for visiting staff that need a place to work,” she told The Detroit News. “Currently MSU has to pay to rent out space off campus for visiting staff.”

The move was a mutual decision based on space availability, Guerrant said.

The Wills House includes small offices on the second floor, housing MSU faculty “who are retired, volunteer or continue to provide service to and be engaged with the university,” school officials said in a statement Wednesday. “Currently, retirees have offices in a variety of locations around campus wherever space is available.”

Built in 1927 for the U.S. Weather Bureau, Wills House was donated to the university in the 1940s and named after the meteorologist who lived there, according to the release. The site has since housed many departments and groups over the years, including meteorology, personnel offices, MSU Extension and technology services.

Renovation plans started in 2015 amid university-wide organizational and space consolidations, MSU said. The project cost $977,301.