Earlier this year, former MSU doctor and USA gymnastics coach Larry Nassar was charged with sexually assaulting 332 students. Shortly after this story broke, Michigan State was embroiled in two other sexual harassments scandals and has since struggled to escape the spotlight.
MSU’s belated and prolonged response to these incidents left many wondering whether the university would be able to regain the trust of their students, faculty, and staff. Recently, however, an MSU board member called for a new office at the school: the Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics, and Compliance.
Nicholas Wittner, an MSU alumni, is the university’s new Chief Compliance Office who is tasked with creating the new office. In a statement he said, “I’m a Spartan. My wife is a Spartan. I’m embarrassed (by the university’s response to the sexual assault scandal involving Larry Nassar). I’m heartbroken (for the survivors). We can’t have anything like that happen again. I will do everything in my authority to make sure it never happens again.”
Wittner has a clear sense of mission at his troubled alma mater, as every Compliance Officer and Risk Manager should. As he put it, “I am here to ensure compliance. I’m not here to protect Michigan State’s brand.” Indeed, as much as reputational risk should be accounted for, Wittner understands that risk management is first and foremost a means to creating a better tomorrow, to doing what’s right.