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The University will pay Rhonda Faehn, a gymnastics coach with ties to the Nassar scandal, $15,000 for four days of work as part of a provision in Faehn’s contract, according to the Detroit Free Press. She had initially signed a $15,000-per-month contract through May 31, 2019.
Faehn was hired by the University on Thursday and attended a meet with the team on Friday. students and others took to protesting Faehn’s hire over social media. By Sunday, several members of the University’s Board of Regents demanded the University fire her.
University athletic director Warde Manuel decided to end Faehn’s contract on Sunday. Though the contract offered the University the option to terminate Faehn at any time, it required at least a month’s notice before doing so. Since this clause was not met, the University will still need to pay her a month’s salary.
In an interview with the Daily, Morgan McCaul, an LSA sophomore and survivor of Nassar’s abuse, spoke about the importance of the message sent by the Athletic Department when it acted swiftly in reversing its decision on Faehn.
“Honestly, it’s been relieving and it’s been kind of whiplash,” McCaul said. “My experience with MSU has been that they dig their heels in and they refuse to admit when they’re wrong, and it’s taken a year and a half to see even a shred of change on that campus, so such a quick turnaround as to this situation has been unexpected and well-received by myself and many other women I know.”
Faehn came under fire when Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman called for her to step down in an interview with the Indianapolis Star.
“I reported my abuse to Rhonda Faehn and so did Maggie Nichols, and I don’t know what she did or didn’t do with that information, but I didn’t get contacted by the FBI for over a year, and in that time 50 to 100 gymnasts were molested,” Raisman told the Star in May 2018.
Although Faehn was never formally implicated in the Nassar scandal, Raisman stated she had told Faehn–in great detail–about Nassar’s actions, but Faehn and other USA Gymnastics officials still waited another week before reporting them.
In a press release issued on Sunday, Manuel apologized for the decision to hire Faehn, and expressed his desire to support University student-athletes.
“It was the wrong decision, and I apologize,” Manuel said. “Our student-athletes are our highest priority and I want to do everything in my power to support them fully and put the focus back on their athletic performance.”