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Laura Dickinson murder: Wikis


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On December 15, 2006, Eastern Michigan University student Laura Dickinson was raped and murdered in her dorm room. This incident became a major issue when EMU issued a statement the next day that foul play was not suspected. However, this statement seemed to be directly contrary to the evidence at hand, and a potential Clery Act violation. On February 23, 2007, a suspect was arrested and charged with her rape and murder. This led to an uproar by EMU students and media about EMU's compliance with the Clery Act because of this delay in reporting and the arrest.

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Murder/Rape

According to police reports, the investigation was regarded as a homicide; however, this was denied and only officially announced on the day of Taylor's arrest. His arrest happened to be the first day students could not withdraw from classes and housing for a full refund.[1] A subsequent investigation by Detroit law firm Butzel Long found that EMU had violated the Clery Act by not notifying students and named Vice President of Student Affairs, Jim Vick, as the main source of the cover-up.[2] The report led the investigation of many high-level administrators.

Effect of murder

The nationally reported scandal resulted in the firing of President John A. Fallon by the Board of Regents.[3] He was notified of the unanimous vote of the Board to fire him by a letter sent to his home on July 15, 2007. Although no formal reason for the termination was given, his dismissal was considered by many to be a direct result of his role in the cover-up of the on-campus homicide. Eastern Michigan's Faculty Association President supported the Board's decision.

At a special meeting called by the Board of Regents on Monday, July 16, 2007, the separation of President John Fallon was officially announced along with the separation of Jim Vick, Vice President for Student Affairs and Cindy Hall, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police. A letter of discipline was placed in University Counsel Kenneth McKanders' file.[4] It was also announced that Donald Loppnow, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, would be appointed Executive Vice President and in this role serve as Acting President until an Interim President is selected.[5]

Clery Act Violations

On July 3, 2007 the Department of Education report relating to the Clery Act violations was released to the public. It states, "Several findings of noncompliance were discovered during the review which the Department [of Education] considers to be serious violations of the Clery Act." The result of this report has yet to be seen. EMU released the executive summary of its response to the DOE report on July 27, 2007.[6][7] In June 2008, the university announced that it had agreed to pay a fine of $350,000 for the violations of the Clery Act.[8]

Settlement

On December 13, 2007, EMU settled with the family and estate of Laura Dickinson for $2.5 million. The settlement does not include any admission of liability by EMU.[9]

Orange Taylor III conviction

On April 7, 2008, a jury convicted Orange Taylor III of first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, home invasion, and theft charges.[10] He was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 7, 2008.[11]

References








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