Michigan State president vetoes alumni magazine's criticism of the Larry Nassar crisis

Michigan State University's alumni magazine almost published a cover story detailing disgraced university doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse and its aftermath. But the the school's interim president stepped in to stop it.

The Detroit Free Press reported back in June that interim president John Engler instructed the Spartan magazine staff to scrap three different covers that put the crisis in the spotlight. On Friday, the school's student newspaper The State News reported that it had obtained the scrapped versions, noting how drastically Engler's interference had changed the tone of the issue.

Nassar, a longtime doctor for the university and for USA Gymnastics, was convicted of criminal sexual conduct and federal charges of child pornography earlier this year. Nearly 200 women came forward to recall Nassar's abuse, and the original versions of the Spartan intended to help them heal and help the community grapple with the news. The magazine planned to feature articles contending with cultural issues on campus, along with a "Listen and Learn" section to give alumni a chance to "stand with" survivors and recognize the "tarnished" reputation of the school.

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The issue that was ultimately published did focus on Michigan State's handling of Nassar's abuse, reports The State News. But Engler reportedly opted to paint the issue as the university emerging from the "most difficult challenge in its history," rather than reckoning with the misconduct on campus. In a section of the magazine, Engler writes that students, faculty, and alumni are "very proud" of the school.

In a statement, university spokesperson Emily Guerrant said "the magazine is intended to communicate and promote university programs. ... The editorial team took an approach that concentrated on the most important changes and improvements at MSU." Read more at The State News.

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Summer Meza

Summer is news editor at TheWeek.com, and has previously written for Newsweek and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Santa Clara University, she now lives in New York with two cats.