After being found guilty of public intoxication and allegations of lying under oath from a James City County’s district court judge, Laura Flippin will remain on the College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors, and all indications point to her return to campus when the Board convenes Sept. 19.
College President Taylor Reveley was brief in discussing the incident.
“Ms. Flippin did not appeal her conviction for public intoxication. … Thus the judge’s ruling stands, and Ms. [Flippin] has paid the fine for her misdemeanor,” Reveley said in an email. “She remains a member of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors. At this point, I don’t think my commenting further on her situation would do any good.”
Flippin was first arrested in September 2011 outside of the Green Leafe on Scotland Street. At her hearing in June, the DLA Piper law firm partner said she’d had just one drink that night. The arresting officer then said that she had registered a .253 BAC — more than three times the legal limit to drive — and that her speech was extremely slurred, she’d had trouble standing up, and that at one point, she’d walked into a wall.
After finding her guilty of the misdemeanor charge of public intoxication, Judge Colleen Killilea said she thought Flippin had lied.
“In my mind, I do not believer her testimony today,” Killilea said. “I think she lied to the court.”
Chair of the Undergraduate Honor Council Justin Duke ’13 felt that all members of the community had a responsibility to uphold certain expectations.
“I wasn’t there so I don’t think I could accurately say whether she was lying,” Justin Duke ’13 said. “But I think most people here know that one drink won’t bring you to a BAC of 0.253. … We take [the Honor Code] seriously as students and I think faculty and outside people should as well. That’s not to say she [doesn’t], but I think everyone here should hold themselves to a higher standard.”
Duke added that, for him, the issue of what happened last September at the Green Leafe is not as important as her possibly being dishonest at her hearing.
“I do wish that our BOV could be role models, but her role in the community is a lot different,” Duke said. “Falling down drunk or sober or whatever isn’t ideal, but it also doesn’t mean that she can’t do her job.”
To Student Assembly President Curt Mills ’13, the issue of integrity isn’t black and white.
“Of course it’s slightly uncomfortable, but no formal charges of perjury have been brought against her,” Mills said. “I’m an extremely ‘innocent-until-proven-guilty’ guy. The Honor Code is extremely important. She’s not a student, but I know that’s parsing it.”
Flippin filed an appeal right after Killilea found her guilty, but dropped it just a few days before the appeal hearing.
Both Flippin and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
Reveley saw the issue as an opportunity to highlight the risks of excessive drinking.
“I do want to say something about high-risk drinking, which concerns me a lot,” Reveley said. “It’s the leading cause of injury, sexual assault and even death among students. … Nothing good comes from drinking to excess. As 2012/2013 gets underway, I hope we will all get a firm grip on this reality and then help get the message across to those in our community who need to hear it the most.”