Wednesday, October 28, 2020

More witnesses give testimonies at William Strampel's second day of trial

May 31, 2019
<p>Former MSU dean William Strampel sits during his preliminary hearing June 5, 2018 at the 54B District Court. Strampel is charged with four criminal charges including a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and a felony count of misconduct in office.</p>

Former MSU dean William Strampel sits during his preliminary hearing June 5, 2018 at the 54B District Court. Strampel is charged with four criminal charges including a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and a felony count of misconduct in office.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

Two more witnesses gave testimonies Friday at ex-dean of Michigan State's College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel's second day of trial.

The first witness, Alicia Flores, reached out to Strampel for a request to take an additional practice exam. She said she even proposed to pay for a proctor for a chance to retake the practice exam, but Strampel denied Flores' pitch because he would then have to make accommodations for other students.

Flores mentioned that Strampel told stories at the meeting that were not related to what they were talking about. She said Strampel made comments on Flores' appearance, allegedly calling her a “pretty young woman.”

She said Strampel said her case reminded him of another instance in which a student came to him to discuss their future in the College of Osteopathic Medicine after receiving a DUI.

Flores said Strampel also told her the same student told others that the reason they could still attend the school was because they gave him oral sex. She said Strampel told her this comment led to him ending the student's career.

“I said, ‘I don’t know what this has to do with my board exam,'" Flores said. "I don’t understand how that story reminds you of this. I’m not in trouble. I'm not getting kicked out of the school. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t fail a class.”

Flores claimed Strampel said “You’d be surprised what people would be willing to do in stressful situations.”

After an hour-long meeting, she said she was denied a chance to retake the practice exam. Flores claimed she didn’t know how to get out of the meeting, as it was drawing to a close and she also had another meeting that day to attend.

Flores told former MSU Osteopathic Medicine Professor Elizabeth Petsche — who left MSU in 2009 — about the interaction with Strampel. Flores said Petsche never encouraged her to make a Title IX complaint.

She said she was held back from her studies. She was offered the ability to take a course designed for medical students who might be delayed in getting a job so that they don't have to begin paying off their student loans right away. 

A second meeting with Strampel took place this time. Flores, a 25-year-old, took her father along this time. She mentioned that she was embarrassed when her dad had to attend the meeting with her. He was not in the same room during the meeting, but was by the door.

After the meeting, Flores said Strampel proposed that — if she was confident that she had passed the exam — he would let her continue her college career if she agreed to a contract.

After first hearing about the contract, Flores' father was skeptical. Flores eventually decided that she would like to sign the contract. The contract said that she would only had one chance to pass or she would be kicked out of the school.

Her parents wanted to seek out legal advice.

“I didn’t believe that he could end her career over a test," Flores' father said. "It wasn’t like she got a drunk driving test. It wasn’t like she did something wrong. It was over a test. If you flunk this test you’re done."

Flores' father said he wanted to be beside his daughter that day because he wanted to emotionally support her.

Flores spoke about Petsche's law and ethics courses, describing her as a mentor.

Petsche said that all of her students knew of their right to appeal a decision a dean makes by filing a grievance. She said she remembers Flores told her that she was “uncomfortable” with the conversation that her and Strampel had. “I remember that she said that he had made comments that were inappropriate. I’ve been trying to remember it,” Petsche said.

She said she was not left with the impression that Strampel was trying to perform any sexual act and that she would have reported Flores' situation if she had thought so.

The other testimony was from Khadije Saad.

Saad accused Strampel of a similar occurrence as Flores'. She also met with Strampel after a failed exam and a failed retake exam. She claims Strampel said if he were to help her, that would mean that he owns her.

She said she felt like she couldn’t accept his help and decided to take a hiatus from school after this situation.

“He was very clear about how much power he had because of his position,” Saad said.

Strampel's trial will continue next week.

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