As Ohio State's allegations against former sports doctor, Richard Strauss, where over 100 former students have come forward saying he sexually assaulted them during examinations have arose, I wanted our schools to ban together to help make these situations stop defining our schools and show some ways that can help us through the position we're in.
My school, Michigan State University, went through hell last year when it was revealed that former Michigan State University and Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar had sexually assaulted more than 140 girls during his career. Our entire school's credibility went down the drain because we're known for Nassar and his crimes.
The news didn't point out all the good things about Michigan State, like how we had the largest freshmen class in the Big 10 with over 8,400 students. Or MSU's academic accomplishments, like how our supply chain management and logistics undergraduate major is number one in the country and we have eight number one graduate majors in the country including our elementary and secondary education which have been number one for 24 years straight.
The news also didn't mention any of our successful athletic seasons like football, where our team was ranked number 16 and won the Holiday Bowl against number 18 Washington State. Or our soccer team, who were ranked number four in their conference and has made it to the elite eight five years in a row. Or our basketball team who was ranked number one multiple times during their season and ultimately ended up ranking third in the March Madness tournament. They also had two people drafted into the NBA, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges. Or even our women's golf team who were NCAA Big 10 Champions this past year.
Finally, the news missed out on all that we did to support the victims of Larry Nassar. We had protests to fire our president and the Board of Trustees who hired Larry Nassar in the first place. We held many events that helped fundraise for sexual assault awareness programs. We covered our school with teal ribbons to show the world that we care deeply for the victims. Teachers, athletic coaches and students showed their support with pin-on teal ribbons they wore every day. And we watched 141 women stand on the ESPY's stage and accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for telling their stories and putting Nassar behind bars.
What the news did talk about is how our past president, Lou Ann Simon, knew about Larry Nassar and didn't tell anyone else who could've stopped his cruel actions. She later resigned as president and interim president John Engler took her place; might I mention he hasn't stepped up at all to change people's perspective on the university? They talked about how Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo should resign because of their silence on the topic, even though Dantonio expressed multiple times how sad he felt for the victims and Izzo personally called the victims to share his apologies and support. ESPN never missed a chance to bring up Larry Nassar's connection to Michigan State and how our athletics "deserved and should presently have the death penalty." It brought up an allegation against three football players but forgot to mention that Dantonio let them go immediately after the allegations were made. It also made a big deal about how Miles Bridge's mother went to lunch with a NBA scout and the scout paid for the meal, despite the fact that other players are accepting thousands of dollars to be illegally recruited and are not getting the slightest bit of attention. ESPN continued to try and demolish every little bit of Michigan State University's reputation.
Penn State University had similar encounters in 2012 with the Sandusky Child Sex Scandal when Jerry Sandusky was arrested for 52 counts of child molestation during his summer camp, "The Second Mile." Penn State's reputation is forever marked with the pedophile's name and history even though their school is so much more than that. Since then, Penn State has been in a state of rebuilding their reputation and bringing attention to their new school's accomplishments. Penn State is ranked as one of the top schools for science in undergraduate and graduate majors with geology tied for first place nationally and environmental science and geochemistry are ranked second nationally as of 2015.
So as Ohio State begins to face these charges, students need to understand that these sick people do not define you or your academic establishment. Be ready to defend your school when people ask how your school is dealing with the Richard Strauss situation whenever you mention that you go to Ohio State. Be supportive of the victims because they deserve so much respect for being able to come forward about this dark time in their lives. Also, do whatever you can to get the people responsible for this tragedy out of power. Have protests and speak your mind because you as a student have the power to change the future.