Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Provost said she recommended Strampel remain as dean even after complaints, more testify

June 8, 2019
<p>The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s former Dean Dr. William Strampel (right) on trial at the Ingham Count Circuit Court on June 4, 2019.</p>

The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s former Dean Dr. William Strampel (right) on trial at the Ingham Count Circuit Court on June 4, 2019.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Provost June Youatt testified Friday she was aware of complaints of inappropriate behavior and comments by former dean of Michigan State's College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel, but still recommended to allow him to continue serving as dean. Another witness testified Strampel served as a male clinical skills model for students and invited her to watch even though she wasn't studying as a medical student.

Witness Kimberly Anglin said it made her feel “awkward” when Strampel asked her to watch him model as a patient.

“He’s the dean, and I guess I don’t really see any benefits of me being in there with them,” Anglin said.

Taylor Scott, an associate professor, testified that Strampel didn't confirm or deny modeling as a patient for intimate examinations.

Anglin was an undergraduate at Central Michigan University and met Strampel at a conference. Strampel allegedly offered Anglin $100 an hour to be a clinical skills model. Anglin accepted the job offer and served as a clinical skills model around 10 times. 

She alleged Strampel asked her if she noticed why he wasn’t conducting the life skills procedures on her as frequently as he used to.

“‘When I do the exams on you, I get aroused,'" Anglin said Strampel told her. "He said something along the lines of, ‘It makes me get hard.'"

Theodore Curry, associate provost at Michigan State, said he knew of Strampel’s alleged sexual and inappropriate comments and encouraged Kim Wilcox — provost at the time — to take action.

Curry allegedly said, "‘There will be severe consequences if this behavior continues ... even if he is one of the two best deans we’ve ever had.’”

Wilcox's alleged plan was to bring these individuals together to help Strampel eliminate the sexual and inappropriate comments that had been allegedly occurring within professional settings.

Assistant AG Danielle Hagaman-Clark produced a confidential memo from April 29, 2010 that Wilcox sent to Strampel identifying the individuals that were given feedback from the concerning survey responses and who would ultimately undertake this plan. Of those individuals were Kari Hortos, an associate dean who testified on Tuesday, June 4.

This memo stated, “In the Spring of 2013, the Office of the Provost will canvass the students, faculty, and staff of the College to ensure that such comments have been eliminated.”

Within this memo, a supplemental review was suggested to take place in 2013, two years short of the regularly scheduled reviews that happened respectively in 2005, 2010, and 2015. All of which the college advisory board passed and Strampel continued as dean.

To Curry’s knowledge, he was never aware of the formation of this work group or of the implementation of the suggested 2013 supplemental review.

Curry testified that it was not the Office of the Provost's duty to ensure whether or not ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar complied with the three requirements placed on Nassar after he returned to work, but that it was Strampel’s responsibility.

Strampel — as dean — was involved in making decisions as to what would happen with Nassar as far as suspension and if any corrections would take place, Curry said.

“The expectation was that would have been handled locally, so within the college and department,” Curry said.

Wilcox left MSU and June Youatt became intern provost on Jan 1, 2013. 

Youatt testified that she wasn’t aware of the follow-through of Nassar’s protocols being delegated by anyone other than Strampel. But she said when she learned of complaints against Strampel in the 2015 review, she met with Strampel and he denied the allegations against him.

She said she told Strampel that the behavior in the allegations was inappropriate. After this meeting, Youatt recommended he remain as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Youatt reached out to Margaret Kingry — among other faculty women within MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine — about their experiences within the college relating to the alleged sexual comments Strampel made. She said she did not attempt to reach out to the female students who submitted the rest of the anonymous survey responses.

The provost can make a recommendation to the president of the university after receiving suggestions from the college advisory board, but it is ultimately the president who gets a say in whether or not a dean gets reappointed, Youatt said.

Shortly before Strampel resigned from his position in July 2018, Youatt said she met again with Strampel. Upon reviewing a file about Strampel’s relation with Nassar, she said she suggested that he should retire, or not continue serving as dean.

“I had been provided the entire file related to his interactions with Larry Nassar. This had been the first time that I had reviewed everything comprehensively and given what I had read that I was not able to justify his continued performance," Youatt said. "I did tell him at the time that I did not think he had affirmatively done something wrong or that he covered anything up but given the totality of the file I couldn’t justify his continued service. At the time I suggested that he might choose to retire."

Youatt received his resignation letter as dean the following day. Strampel later went on medical leave following his resignation, but was still an employee at MSU at the time.

Strampel's trial will continue into next week.

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