MSU critic faces allegation of inappropriate relationship from former student
By Gina Kaufman And Jim Schaefer
Detroit Free Press
January 29, 2018
|Michigan State University Professor Sue Carter resigned Wednesday as faculty athletic representative at Michigan State University in protest of MSU's "ineffective response" to the Larry Nassar scandal.|
Just days after Sue Carter resigned her position as chair of Michigan State University’s Athletic Council, in protest over the institution’s handling of its sexual abuse scandal, a former student has filed a complaint claiming Carter drew her into an inappropriate relationship more than two decades ago.
Ellen Fedon-Keyt, now a Dearborn psychologist, e-mailed the members of the athletic council on Saturday saying she was about 19 years old and an undergraduate student at Wayne State University when Carter, who was at one time her professor, befriended her and manipulated her into a sexual relationship that felt "wrong and distorted." Fedon-Keyt said this occurred around the time her father was killed in a plane crash — a period when she was vulnerable.
Two members of the MSU Athletic Council — professor Martin Crimp and secretary Scott Westerman, executive director of the Alumni Association — confirmed over the weekend to the Free Press that the complaint was forwarded to the university’s Office of Institutional Equity. Fedon-Keyt, who spoke to the Free Press and agreed to let her name be published, said Monday an investigator from the office already has requested an interview with her.
Fedon-Keyt, now 47, said in her letter to the council that, at the time of the relationship, she was in the midst of trauma and Carter “had been making me feel like I mattered. I did not want to lose the person I had felt was my ally, so I went along with it.”
Carter, a professor of journalism at MSU, acknowledged to the Free Press on Sunday that the two had a consensual relationship that occurred when she was no longer Fedon-Keyt’s professor at Wayne State.
Carter said she hadn’t spoken to Fedon-Keyt in 25 years.
“I’m deeply sorry for the harm that she believes I did and I acknowledge that and that I’m equally saddened that after a quarter of a century she still carries this animus and I apologize,” Carter said. “Many of us have experienced #metoo, including me, who was raped when I was 6 years old. So, I do understand the depth that a lot of us feel. We heal when we have conversations, when we acknowledge and when we move forward."
On Monday night, Carter said in a statement: "I question the OIE decision to announce an inquiry stemming from a consensual relationship with a person who was not my student" a quarter of a century ago.
Fedon-Keyt said she never reported the relationship — which she said started in 1991 or 1992 and lasted a few months — and was prompted to speak out only after seeing Carter’s publicized criticisms last week on MSU’s response to the victimization of girls and women by former sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar.
Fedon-Keyt said Carter “is not someone that should be a spokesperson for this issue.”
In resigning from the athletic council, Carter, who is also an Episcopal priest, wrote in a letter to now-former MSU President Lou Anna Simon: “As both professor and priest, I am profoundly saddened by Michigan State University’s public posture and seeming callous regard for the girls,” according to the Lansing State Journal.
Fedon-Keyt, who said she ended up attending Michigan State University after spending time at Wayne State, said she hasn’t had contact with Carter since the early 1990s.
A LinkedIn page in Carter's name says she was a lecturer at Wayne State for one year from 1990-91. A Wayne State spokesman confirmed that a Sue Carter was on the faculty around that time.
Fedon-Keyt said she got out of the relationship with the help of friends and said she consulted with friends before filing her recent complaint. Carter said Fedon-Keyt's recitation of the facts is not accurate.