William Strampel, former Michigan State University dean of osteopathic medicine, has one more day to decide if he wants to retire from Michigan State with full benefits. His other option is to allow the university to move forward in their efforts to revoke his tenure— a lengthy process during which he’ll receive his full salary.
Strampel is the former boss of convicted Michigan State sports doctor Larry Nassar, and has been charged with sexual misconduct himself.
Strampel has been on medical leave since December, but because he has tenure at Michigan State, the 70-year-old doctor is technically still a paid employee of the university. That will continue until his tenure is revoked and he’s effectively terminated without benefits.
Unless, of course, he decides to retire now.
This choice given to him is the result of a new policy unanimously passed last month by the school’s Board of Trustees. It states that employees fighting tenure revocation can no longer retire with full benefits after a certain point in the process.
The policy prevents anyone engaged in tenure revocation from cutting their losses and walking away with a nice package of benefits if it seems like the proceedings aren’t going in their favor. For a faculty member of Strampel’s status at Michigan State, full retirement benefits include lifetime healthcare coverage for the employee and their spouse, as well as a professor emeritus distinction.
Trustee Dianne Byrum, who chairs the committee that introduced the policy and has advocated for Strampel's removal since January, said it wasn’t created specifically for Strampel’s situation-- although he will be the first person it applies to.
“It isn’t targeted at one individual. It is permanent policy that will be used going forward,” she said.
The early stages of Strampel’s tenure revocation have already begun. A review officer has been in contact with Michigan State Provost June Youatt about whether Strampel should be dismissed. Youatt has requested to meet with Strampel informally before deciding whether to recommend continuing with the process, and Strampel can meet with Youatt until this Friday. At any time before that, he could chose to retire.
Michigan State administrators did not wish to comment on this story, and Strampel’s lawyer could not be reached. But for her part, Byrum said she’s hoping Strampel picks retirement.
“I think in the best interest of the university is that he should retire, and let the university heal and move forward.”