The Devil in the White Coat

A gavel sits on a bench with a green overlay and white text that reads, "The Devil in a White Coat"

*This article was originally published in West Michigan Woman Magazine*

If there are two things that people should know about Michigan State Spartans, it is that we are extremely proud of our school—sometimes to a fault—and that whenever someone yells “Go green!” you can expect we will respond even louder with an enthusiastic “Go white!”

When I was attending a networking event downtown this week, the keynote speaker, a fellow Spartan, came onto the stage and said, “Are my fellow Spartans in the room?”, hoping for a rousing applause to kick off the speech. I noticed a few reserved “golf claps” in response to her question, and then she yelled the familiar Spartan calling, “Go green!” It was then that I noticed my muffled and somewhat dull response, which was unusual for me, a die-hard MSU alumna.

Why was I suddenly feeling like being a Spartan was something I didn’t want to openly share? Why did I have a small pit in my stomach?

I noticed I wasn’t the only one, as I saw a few nervous or uncomfortable glances exchanged between other event attendees. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know the reason for Spartans feeling a little less proud right now, and a bit quieter than usual is because of Dr. Larry Nassar: a man who sexually abused hundreds of young women, for years, at Michigan State University.

Dr. Larry Nassar—or “Inmate Nassar,” as Doug Powell, a father of one of Nassar’s victims, so accurately referred to him—has thrown Michigan State University and its entire leadership into the media spotlight.

For over 20 years, Inmate Nassar had been molesting young women, some as young as 6, who trusted him with their health and overall well-being. This all happened at Michigan State University, where he ran a clinic and gymnastics club. Inmate Nassar took advantage of his position as a trusted healthcare provider and faculty member and manipulated so many lives, all for his own personal pleasure.

I have been a proud Michigan State fan since I was a little girl. When it came time for me to choose a college, the only place I applied was Michigan State—there was no question where I wanted to end up. Half of my wardrobe still consists of Michigan State branded clothing, and I have three Michigan State decals on my car and one on my laptop. I am the typical overly proud MSU alumna and Inmate Nassar has made me, along with many other alumni and current students, question if we should still be proud of our beloved school and alma mater.

You can read more from our own Michigan State alumni, Emily Potts, on West Michigan Woman.

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