United States: A Failure To Lead

Last Updated: August 14 2019
Article by Michael Rueda

William Strampel, the former dean of Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, was ordered on Wednesday to serve up to one year in jail. Strampel's sentence stems from accusations that he harassed female medical students and failed to properly oversee Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State professor and USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually abused girls and women under his care.

Strampel was initially charged as part of the Michigan special prosecutor's investigation into how Nassar was able to abuse hundreds of girls and women throughout his two-decade career. However, Strampel's charges are the result of his actions as dean from 2002 to 2017. According to court documents, Strampel used his power as dean to sexually harass, proposition, assault and solicit nude photos from female students. Investigators stated that Strampel's university computer contained pictures of nude and semi-nude young women with Michigan State logo piercings or clothing. The sentences handed down by Judge Joyce Draganchuk, the Ingham County Circuit Court Judge, included 11 months in jail on a count of misconduct in office, and a year in jail on two counts of willful neglect of duty. Strampel will serve those sentences concurrently.

Strampel was sentenced two months after a jury found him guilty of the three charges. Concerning willful neglect, the jury determined there was sufficient evidence to determine that Strampel displayed "complete indifference" regarding whether Nassar followed certain protocols implemented after a complaint of sexual assault by one of Nassar's patients in 2014. The protocols required that a third person be present in the exam room for sensitive procedures by Nassar and limited skin-to-skin contact.

In a public statement following the sentencing, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stated "Today's sentencing sends a resoundingly clear message to public officials: If you brandish your power to demean, insult, harass, objectify, and abuse women, you will be held accountable." Strampel is the first Michigan State official to receive a jail sentence resulting from the Nassar investigation. Former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and former Michigan State gymnastics coach, Kathy Klages, both face criminal charges in connection with the Nassar investigation.

Strampel's sentencing is another example of a failure in leadership by someone in a position of authority. Strampel had a significant responsibility to the students he served at Michigan State and the patients in Nassar's care. As dean, Strampel was supposed to guide and support the education, careers, and lives of his students. Instead, Strampel betrayed them. Strampel harassed and abused these young women while hiding behind the safety of his title and influence over their future in medicine. As Nassar's boss, Strampel turned a blind eye to years of sexual misconduct. Strampel knew of prior allegations, established measures to mitigate the risk Nassar's practice presented to Michigan State, but failed to ensure Nassar followed the protocols.

Layers of leadership, including Strampel, failed Nassar's victims. Individuals and institutions that were expected to protect these girls and women did not do so. As legal proceedings continue to expose what transpired at all levels, one can only anticipate that self-interest, corrupt intentions, and an unwillingness to learn the truth perpetuated Nassar's crimes. Ultimately, with the support and leadership of those who listened, reported, and prosecuted, the victims became survivors brave enough to share their stories and hold faux leaders accountable.

Given the frequency with which failed leaders like Strampel are exposed, it would come as no surprise if there is growing skepticism, particularly among younger generations, of the integrity and intentions of current business and political leaders. The general public today is seemingly more unwilling than ever to sit back and hope that leaders act in their best interest. Public protests across the country demand action on critical issues of the day, including gun violence, social justice, climate change, and equal pay, because leaders fail to act swiftly or fail to act at all. Athletes and entertainers are also engaged, actively using their celebrity and public platforms to bring attention to many of those same issues. These calls for action demonstrate that change and accountability are not always driven from the top.

Leadership positions are accompanied with titles and power, but neither are determining factors on whether actual leadership exists. When interviewed in the November 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, acclaimed novelist Toni Morrison, who passed away this week, said "If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else." Morrison's words are perpetually relevant and today's leaders should take note.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions