Southwest Michigan Today: Friday May 31, 2019

May 31, 2019

William Strampel’s attorney John Dakmak (center) delivers his opening statement while Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark takes notes
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

Testimony begins in the trial of an MSU Dean who once supervised Larry Nassar. Benton Harbor School district officials react to a plan that would close the district’s high school. Kickoff times are set for most WMU football games this season. 

(MPRN) Opening statements and first witnesses were called Thursday in the criminal trial of the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. William Strampel is charged with not properly overseeing Larry Nassar after an internal investigation. Nassar is the former sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for decades. Strampel is also accused of using his position to try and to get sexual favors from female students. John Dakmak, Strampel’s attorney, said his client may have said things to students that most people might think are odd or inappropriate. But he said there was never a quid pro quo statement. Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark is prosecuting the case. She said during opening statements that witnesses will testify that Strampel made it clear to female students that he had all the power. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

(WCMU) Debates continue in the courts and Michigan’s legislature over whether students have a fundamental right to literacy. A group of lawmakers introduced a measure last week to alter the state constitution, and make literacy a right. The legislation responds, in part, to a federal court ruling last year, which found that Detroit students suing the state did not have a fundamental right to literacy. The state, in a filing with the sixth circuit court of appeals last week, argued that the case was moot because there is a new administration and because Detroit schools are no longer under state control. A spokesperson for the Governor said she absolutely stands by her belief that every child has a right to literacy. They said the Governor’s proposed budget will address concerns about education and includes more than $22-million set aside for Detroit Public Schools.

(WVPE) The State of Michigan announced a plan last week that would close Benton Harbor High School and send its students to neighboring districts. This comes after several years of back and forth between the state and the district, and amid $16-million in debt and failing scores for most of its students. The board has requested Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s presence at a public meeting at the high school next Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

Kickoff times have been announced for eight of Western Michigan University’s 12 football games this year. The Broncos begin the season Saturday evening August 31st at 7:00 against Monmouth at Waldo Stadium. The next two games at Michigan State on September 7th and home against Georgia State of September 14th will also be played at night. Western will play three Tuesday night games in November, at home against Ball State November 5th and road games at Ohio November 12th and Northern Illinois November 19th. Kickoff times for four games have not been scheduled yet, including September 28th against Central Michigan at Waldo Stadium. That will also be the Broncos first Mid-American Conference game of the football season.

In baseball, Kalamazoo rallied from a 4-0 deficit, but lost to Green Bay in 11 innings Thursday night 5-4. The Growlers have lost two of their first three games of the Northwoods League season. The two teams will play again Friday night at Homer Stryker Field.

Battle Creek lost for the second time in three games so far this baseball season. The Bombers fell to Fon du Lac Thursday night, 3-2. The two teams will finish their two game series Friday night at C.O. Brown Stadium.