MSU pres resignation letter misses mark, PR firm says

After MSU's president released a letter announcing her resignation, local experts are weighing in on what some are calling empty words.

"The letter really surprised me. Words matter," said Matt Friedman of strategic communications firm Tanner Friedman.

Opinion: MSU Pres gets F for blame game in resignation

Friedman didn't have to look too far into the words of President Lou Anna K. Simon's resignation letter to find issues that are being called tone deaf and insensitive. 

MSU President Lou Anna Simon submits resignation letter

"It was way too much about the president, it was defensive. At times it was callous," he said.

Within the first sentence of her letter, she talks about how difficult the Larry Nassar has been for her. By the second paragraph, Simon brings the dialogue back to her plans to retire, which she says date back to December of 2016.

Michigan House calls on MSU President Lou Anna Simon to step down

"Then the Indianapolis Star article appeared about USAG and one of the victims contacted MSU to file a complaint."

She goes on to explain that it was because of the investigation her retirement was postponed, and that as the Nassar case closed, "more and more negative attention was focused on Michigan State University and on me." 

Simon then references the state lawmakers who passed a resolution asking for her to resign. "As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As President, it is only natural that I am the focus of the anger."

Survivors of Larry Nassar point blame at MSU president Simon

"Students do not trust the administration and somebody needs to step up in leadership and start listening to students," Friedman said.

Michael Layne of Marx Layne marketing  and public relations advises clients on crisis communications. 

"I am amazed that this has been buried for close to 20 years," he said.

He is not amazed by one thing: a disturbing observation about priorities at universities. We saw it at Penn State when the sex abuse scandal rocked that's campus when it was uncovered in 2011. And now at MSU.

Sexual abuse survivor confronts MSU president during Larry Nassar sentencing

"You're trying to protect your own, you're trying to protect the reputation of the university, and you're trying to protect the reputation of USA Gymnastics," he said.

While president Simon did say the accounts from the Nassar trial were horrific and gut wrenching, she then talked about how proud she was of her own support and her special victims unit. What was missing?

Senators Stabenow, Peters call on MSU president to resign

"Show empathy, show your human side, admit that something has happened. Again there are legalities and certain words you want that you probably want to avoid. But show empathy," he said.