EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State Universityâ€™s athletic director retired Friday, two days after the university president resigned over the schoolâ€™s handling of sexual abuse allegations against its disgraced former sports doctor, Larry Nassar.
Mark Hollis, who had been in the job for 10 years, disclosed the move during a meeting with a small group of reporters on campus. He was asked why he would not stay on.
â€śBecause I care,â€ť Hollis said, holding back tears. â€śWhen you look at the scope of everything, thatâ€™s the reason I made a choice to retire now. And I hope that has a little bit, a little bit, of helping that healing process.â€ť
Hours later, the university named its vice president to serve as acting president after the departure of President Lou Anna Simon. Bill Beekman is expected to serve briefly in the role until the board of trustees can hire an interim president and then a permanent leader.
At their meeting, all eight trustees made statements and apologies, many of them emotionally delivered. Board Chairman Brian Breslin said it was â€śclear that MSU has not been focused enough on the victims.â€ť The trustees, he said, want to resume discussions with those who have sued the school to â€śreach a fair and just conclusion.â€ť Talks broke down last year.
The board plans to ask an independent third party to review health and safety at the school, and it wants state Attorney General Bill Schuette to consider appointing a neutral investigator to conduct an inquiry of the Nassar matter â€śto promote bipartisan acceptance of the results.â€ť
Trustee Brian Mosallam said: â€śI am so truly sorry. We failed you.â€ť
Beekman is vice president and secretary of the board. He began working at the university in 1995 and previously led the MSU Alumni Association. He has an undergraduate degree from MSU.
â€śI think our culture here at Michigan State clearly needs to improve,â€ť he said. â€śWe need to be able to make everybody that comes on our campus feel safe.â€ť