I cradled my notebook in my lap and clutched my pen as questions for president-elect Lou Anna K. Simon formulated in my head last Tuesday during a question and answer forum held in the Case Hall lounge. I finally settled upon asking an honest question direct from my heart concerning an issue that has a lot of us a little uneasy lately.
On the morning of the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game in October, a nonresident attempted to enter a female student’s room without her permission on the second floor of Holden Hall. After being denied entrance to the room, he made his way down the hallway knocking on doors in attempt to get into any room. Police caught him making his rounds on the third floor and his explanation was that he was searching for a friend. With ten alleged rapes on campus (and still counting), scenarios like these are only becoming more familiar on campus. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the university’s course of action in dealing with these foreboding security issues will be. It is a problem we cannot afford to overlook.
I decided that the future president of MSU would surely have a reassuring answer to calm my fears and insecurities. Simon simply responded with charm, a smile and an “I’m still looking into it” approach to the difficult issue. Explaining that because she is still currently provost and she doesn’t want to overlap occupations, she is not as up-to-speed on as many issues as she would like to be. She affirmed that she would be at the top of her game and have firm stances on more issues come Jan. 1. I still can’t help but wonder how she could evade such a pressing issue.
Nevertheless, Simon believes that the attitude among students is what needs to shift in order to curtail further problems. “We need to be taking care of each other, not taking advantage of one another,” Simon said
Claiming not to be naïve of the partying that occurs at MSU, she plans on having a conversation with the campus so collective expectations as a community can be established. Her goal is to obliterate confusion between students and administration over what changes and potential action are to be implemented.
The Women’s Resource Center says that there haven’t actually been more rapes on campus, just more reported cases. MSU has been responsible in handling the matters, and consequently, more victims are coming forward with their stories. Simon is glad to see more cases going reported, because it makes the issue easier to deal with.
All in all, Lou Ann K. Simon has her eyes fixated on a bright future for MSU students. She plans to expand the number of courses available to students, supports greater diversity among students, and hopes to become a more sustainable university in terms of recycling. She wants to strengthen and challenge those students in the James Madison College, and also hopes to provide a more flexible transition to Masters programs. Her position on the Worker’s Rights Consortium will continue to be unspecified until Jan. 1.
In order to help students identify with her on a more personal level in effort to be more compelling and effective in reaching students, she answered a few personal questions. Like so many MSU students who periodically travel home to visit family and friends, she still makes a trip up north every five weeks to see her mother. Her favorite color is green, which shows some true Spartan pride, and her favorite ice cream is chocolate, with anything peanut butter in it.
A first generation college student of a blue collar family, her grandparents and parents propelled her forward in all excursions because they wanted her to experience life in ways they could not.
“As anyone else, I am a product of pieces of individuals I’ve met throughout my life,” Simon explained.
It seems safe to say that Simon is considerate of the opinions and concerns of the students she will soon be presiding over. She is excited to begin her new position, and the students of MSU are anxious to see what exactly Lou Anna K. Simon will bring to campus. Her stances on the issues we face, such as the threat of rape, will have a huge impact on the university. We hope not to be disappointed.
In the meantime, it is unsettling that she has taken an “I’m still looking in to it” approach to the issues that are most important to us as students. If she will lead us into the next presidency here at MSU, she should have answers for our pressing questions. She is not a politician, and her job is to represent us in our community and nation. We hope to hear more from Lou Anna soon.

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