EMU Issues Response after Federal Investigation

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Hoping to close the books on a homicide cover-up that drew national attention, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) issued an official response to the Department of Education (DOE) on Aug. 6 with promises to revise campus security procedures.

Despite firing university president John Fallon and two other top administrators last month, the school is still planning to use the 16-point improvement plan Fallon created before his termination. Changes include implementing a new warning system and undergoing a full campus security audit. Fifty EMU employees will also participate in Clery Act awareness training put on by the campus crime watchdog group Security on Campus.

EMU has been charged with violating the Clery Act, a federal law requiring universities to report safety threats and campus crimes promptly.

The school’s numerous infringements came to light when police arrested Orange Taylor III in February for the rape and murder of fellow student Laura Dickinson. Prior to that point, the university had told her family and the press that they suspected no foul play despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary when her body was discovered 10 weeks before.

A subsequent investigation by the DOE in July discovered that wasn’t the only black mark on EMU’s record. In addition to misreporting Dickinson’s death, the university lacked a proper warning system, failed to update its crime log and underreported the number of forcible sex offenses in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

The DOE is expected to review the university’s response and issue a final report within 45 days. The school could face fines as heavy as $27,500 per violation and have their federal financial aid programs suspended.

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