Flat Hat Staff Writer Matt Giattino contributed to this report.
In the wake of her public intoxication conviction and allegations of lying under oath, College of William and Mary Board of Visitors member Laura Flippin ’92 resigned herself from the BOV Friday in a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell.
“I am committed to ensuring that William and Mary continues to be one of this nation’s preeminent institutions of higher education, grounded in its historical legacy and focused on its dynamic future,” read Flippin’s letter, submitted prior to the BOV’s September meetings. “To avoid distraction from that mission, I hereby submit my resignation from my position as board member. My decision is guided by my respect and concern for the faculty, staff, students, alumni and other members of the William & Mary community.”
The sequence of events leading up to her resignation began last September, when Flippin was arrested outside the Green Leafe Cafe on Scotland Street for public intoxication, a Class 4 misdemeanor. At her trial this June, the arresting officer testified that when he arrived at the scene, Flippin was bloodied from a fall and straddling a chain line, clutching her car keys. According to the criminal complaint he filed, Flippin’s speech was “extremely slurred,” she needed to be held up to keep from falling again, and at one point, she walked into a wall.
At the trial, Flippin told Williamsburg General District Court judge Colleen Killilea that she had just one drink at the bar and was headed to her car to retrieve her cell phone to call a cab.
“I didn’t feel intoxicated,” Flippin said.
After the arresting officer said she registered a blood alcohol content of .253 — more than three times the legal driving limit of .08 — from a breathalyzer test, Killilea found her guilty, ordering her to pay a $25 fine.
“In my mind, I don’t believe her testimony today,” Killilea told Flippin’s attorney, Virginia Senate Majority Leader and Marshall-Wythe Law School professor Thomas Norment J.D. ’73. “I think she lied to the court.”
Flippin, who received her bachelor’s degree from the College in 1992 before earning her master’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia, immediately filed an appeal, but then dropped it before the hearing.
Before being appointed to the Board of Visitors by McDonnell in 2010, Flippin served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, Clearance Counsel at the White House and Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Bush administration. She remains a partner at the DLA Piper law firm in Washington, D.C.
During her time on the BOV, Flippin earned a reputation as a tireless advocate for the College’s government department.
“Even before joining the BOV, and especially during her service on it, Laura has been immensely helpful in expediting plans for our long-awaited move from Morton to a renovated Tyler Hall,” government professor Clay Clemens said. “Having spent 35 years in a building not worthy of the College’s reputation, I am personally very grateful that we have been able to count on such a loyal alumna and friend.”
To aid in the department’s move to Tyler, Flippin promised to donate three dollars for every dollar given by or in honor of a 2012 graduate of the College.
“Laura’s devotion to her alma mater has been evident in many wonderful respects,” College President Taylor Reveley said in a statement. “The events of last September were distressing to her, the Board and the College. Her decision to step down from the Board of Visitors is in the best interests of all concerned.”