EMU Case Study - Arthur W. Page Society

Sacrificing Student Safety
for a Sharper Image
Eastern Michigan University
 Public
University founded in 1849
 Average student population: 23,000
 Annual Michigan economy impact
$3.7 billion
 A $42 dollar return for every dollar
received from the state
 Top
Producer of health care
professionals and K-12 Teachers
Who are the Stakeholders?
 Faculty/ Staff
 Local Community
 State
 Government
 Students’ Families
 Department of Education
December 12, 2006
Laura Dickinson attended Rowing team
Christmas party
 Dickinson returned to her Hill Hall dorm
room with gift bag
December 15, 2006
Dickinson’s father called university
 No contact for two days
 University noted she had missed final exams
Custodian unlocked door and found her
lifeless body
 EMU police were alerted and family was
December 16, 2006
Michigan State police were called to
further investigate death
 EMU released first statement:
“At this point there is no reason to
suspect foul play. We are fully confident
in the safety and security of our campus
environment, and our campus officials
will remain vigilant in ensuring safety for
all members of our campus community.”
February 27, 2007
 Orange
Taylor, III was arrested for the
rape and murder of Laura Dickinson
February 27, 2007
Details of crime scene released: body
found with pillow over head
 Medical examiner releases statement to
“This death was immediately
suspicious. Dickinson’s death
was caused by probable
EMU President Responds:
“It was reported early on that foul play
was not suspected. As the investigation
developed, there were serious, strong,
and abiding concerns about the raising
of information that would prejudice the
case. It affected the nature and focus
and specificity of the information.”
U.S. Department of Education
“EMU failed to disclose information that
would enable the campus community to
make informed decisions and take necessary
precautions to protect themselves, and
issued misleading statements from the
outset, providing false reassurance that foul
play was not suspected.”
U.S. Department of Education
Investigation Findings
EMU silently engaged in a homicide
 Potential suspect an EMU student
attending classes on campus
 Potential suspect in possession of
victim’s dorm room keys
 No information disclosed to community
regarding possible safety threat
Clery Act
Requires universities issue timely
warning of potential security threats,
•Aggravated Assault
•Criminal Sexual Conduct
•Motor Vehicle Theft
•Theft from a Vehicle
EMU Clery Act Violations
13 violations including:
 Failure to issue a timely warning
 Lack of a timely warning policy for the
 Lack of capability to provide campus
October 15, 2007
Taylor stands trial for rape and murder
 Lawyer admits Taylor was in search of
marijuana the night of murder
○ Denied seeing Ms. Dickinson
 DNA matched semen found on leg
Mistrial declared October 24, 2007
 Jury deadlocked
December 18 ,2007
EMU fined $357,000 by U.S.
Department of Education
“Our goal now is the same as it was
before: to honor and remember her and
to try to create an environment on
campus where such an incident will
never occur again.”
- EMU Regent Jim Stapleton
March 31, 2008
Taylor’s second trial
 Concluded April 7, 2008
 Found guilty
 First degree felony murder
 Assault with intent to commit
sexual penetration
 Home invasion
 Larceny
Public Response
Angered students, parents and faculty
spoke out to the media about their
 Students held public forums
Public Response
Public Response
Public Response
Family Response
National Response
EMU gained national media attention for
the cover-up
The New York Times
The Early Show, CBS
Larry King Live, CNN
Good Morning America
The Seattle Times
ABC News
EMU Takes Action
Increased police foot patrols
 Private security service
 Text messaging alert system
 On-Campus student security “SEEUS”
 Computerized visitor check-in for
 Widespread recruiting campaign
Students and parents fear safety and
distrust university
Alumni disappointed in university response
Laws were broken
Family of victim further devastated
National media coverage
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