Trustee criticized for Nassar case remarks won’t run again

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan State University trustee who suggested that attorneys representing sexual assault victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar were “chasing ambulances” will not seek reelection to the school’s board.

Joel Ferguson, a real estate developer and Democrat, said in a news release Wednesday that he will focus on development projects he has in the state.

Ferguson was among the eight trustees who came under fire by Nassar survivors and students in the handling of the Nassar scandal, particularly for comments that led to calls for his resignation.

In a 2018 sports radio interview he later apologized for, Ferguson opined that “there are so many more things going on at the university than just this Nassar thing.”

In March 2017, he suggested victims’ attorneys were “chasing ambulances” by blaming the university for failures by individual employees, according to one of the more than 600 victims.

Ferguson offered a similar assessment in an interview in December 2017, suggesting victims sued the university rather than just Nassar because “we have deeper pockets than someone who’s in jail who’s never going to get out for the rest of their life.”

Ferguson has served on the board since 1986, making him the longest serving-trustee on the board and was the first African American to be elected to Lansing City Council in 1967.

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Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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