Michigan State University spent more than $500,000 to keep tabs on the online activities of former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s victims and journalists covering the case, according to the Lansing State Journal.
The public-relations company Weber Shandwick billed the university $517,343 for more than 1,440 hours of work tracking social media in the month of January, the Journal reports.
Michigan State’s Office of Communication and Brand Strategy monitored social media and news media activity involving the Nassar case previously and concurrently with Weber Shandwick, the newspaper notes.
“The firm billed for work done by 18 different employees, whose hourly rates ranged from $200 to $600 per hour,” the Journal writes. “Five of those employees billed MSU for more than $50,000, including one who billed for $96,900 and another who billed for $120,893.”
The Journal says it obtained documents, including emails, from a public records request.
Michigan State did not immediately return NPR’s request for comment. Weber Shandwick’s director of global corporate communications, Kim Dixon, referred NPR’s questions to the university.