by Dr. Kevin Orieux in : Articles
There is a rumbling in the socio-economic pillars of Western society. A risk management warning sign for CEO's and Senior Executives. What is now only a slight tremor in the realm of workplace conflict resolution and harassment liability, is growing in its intensity and spreading across the national and international landscape.
It's a forewarning of the major shakings that are to come, personal and corporate shakings that can demolish a lifetime of hard work, long hours and decades of sacrifice. It's a sociological shift that is demanding accountability from society's senior leaders, especially when they are guilty of covering up criminal behavior perpetrated in a quest for sex, greed and power.
The most recent example of these personal socio-economic earthquakes is Lou Anna Simon, the ex-president of Michigan State University. After Simon was charged by the Michigan Attorney General's office on November 20th with four counts of lying to a peace officer, MSU's website published the following statement:
We are aware of the charges brought today against former President Lou Anna K. Simon. She is taking an immediate leave of absence, without pay, to focus on her legal situation. All questions for Dr. Simon should be directed to her attorney, Lee Silver, at 616-988-5600.
-Emily Guerrant, MSU Spokesperson1
In the very same Eaton County courtroom where dozens of women testified against convicted sex offender and serial pedophile Larry Nassar2, Simon was arraigned on charges that allege she lied to peace officers and if found guilty, could face four years in prison. Simon had earlier told police she was not aware about details pertaining to Larry Nassar being investigated with respect to the 2014 Title IX complaint filed by Amanda Thomashow, who was sexually abused by Nasser under the guise of him providing medical treatment to her hip.
But wrongdoings are not being attributed to just Simon.
In the aftermath of an investigation into Ms. Thomashow's sexual harassment complaint against Nassar from March 24, 2014, investigator Kristine M. Moore, who was then Assistant Director of MSU's Office of Institutional Equity, provided MSU with a 23 page report dated July 18, 2014 which cautioned the university that Nassar's medical practices were opening up the MSU Sports Medicine clinic to liability and exposing his patients to unnecessary trauma3. The report that was issued to Ms. Thomashow, however, was only 22 pages and it omitted reference to MSU's liability and the potential of patients being exposed to unnecessary trauma. Instead, the conclusion of Moore's 22 page report to Thomashow stated:
"We cannot find that the conduct was of a sexual nature. Thus, it did not violate the Sexual Harassment Policy. However, we find the claim helpful in that it allows us to examine certain practices at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic." 4
What's interesting is that the November 20 statement by MSU suggests that the university is not underwriting the accused's legal representation. Dr. Lou Anna Simon appears to be on her own. After close to four decades of service to MSU, including her appointment as the university's first female president in 2005, Simon was called to resign her position as president by thousands of irate alumni and Michigan citizens and no less than two U.S. senators, the university's newspaper and the Michigan state House of Representatives.5
Lou Anna Simon is not alone. Mark Zuckerberg has faced the fire before a senate committee hearing. Harvey Weinstein has been toppled from his ivory tower in Hollywood. Uber has had to pay $143 million for neglecting to inform it's customers of a breach in security where personal information was stolen by a hacker who essentially extorted $100,000 from the giant taxi alternative.
The public is demanding accountability and showing greater interest in seeing culpable individuals and corporations being exposed, fined and in a growing number of cases, incarerated.
There is a sociological cue here to those in power and in positions of authority. Telling the truth is no longer an inconvenience, it's becoming a mandate. Those who don't are subject to having their livelihood, their legacies and even their lives jeopardized.
What is your reputation worth to you?