Ironically, my husband and I watched the movie, Titanic, the other night. The “unsinkable” ship, the largest, most luxurious ocean liner of its time, crashed into an iceberg, and took more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers to the bottom. The ship was going too fast, the steersman took a wrong turn, and there were too few lifeboats. The Captain felt pressured to maintain a high speed and the ships architect knew there weren’t enough lifeboats.
I feel like I’m watching a sequel to the Titanic called, “Titanic II: The ‘Unsinkable’ University.” But, this one is live. This movie has dominated headlines and has consumed television stations. And, like Titanic, the once highly decorated and honorable creation of Michigan State University has hit its own iceberg.
This is a place I so proudly called home, an athletic department I was a part of, and an administration I personally know.
However, this institution is in complete turmoil because just as those in power failed on the ship, those in power failed Michigan State. Beyond the innocent victims who were sexually assaulted, there are thousands of others greatly affected by this painful collapse: students, athletes, faculty, staff, coaches, alumni, and more. And, just as the Titanic could have been prevented from shattering, so could have Larry Nassar from sexual assaulting hundreds of innocent girls and women.
I sit hear anxiously awaiting and fearful to hear who is next. First, it was Nassar, who undoubtedly should never see the light of day again. But, then President Lou Anna Simon stepped down. Then athletic director Mark Hollis resigned. The magnitude and the intensity of ‘who else is involved?’ and ‘who falls next?’ is downright scary.
Prior to hitting that iceberg, the largest moving object to ever be created by humans was looked at as ‘invincible.’ But, Titanic sunk. There was no stopping it. The ocean liner was doomed from too many mistakes and pure carelessness.
Michigan State is ‘sinking’ as we speak because those in leadership roles failed to protect athletes and ignored warning signs. And, as a result, thousands of others are being dragged down, too.
Let’s hope, unlike Titanic, that Michigan State University can be restored. That the innocent, brave, and true leaders—the victims themselves—can find justice. That those who had no involvement in the ongoing assaults can maintain their jobs respectively. And, that the university can face adversity to reclaim their integrity, honor, and respect as an institution.
A second ship has yet to sink because of the structural mistakes made and valuable lessons learned from Titanic. Let’s, too, learn from this atrocity and NEVER let this happen again.