EMU employs alert system amid federal report

DETROIT – Eastern Michigan University leaders say they’re implementing a new alert system and will provide students with regular updates on crimes on campus in the wake of a federal report that blasted the university for the cover-up of a student’s killing.

The steps are among several outlined in the school’s official response to the report by the U.S. Department of Education, which found EMU failed to alert the public of the rape and killing of Laura Dickinson in December, and that EMU violated federal law by underreporting and misreporting crimes on campus since 2003.

Since the report came out, three EMU officials lost their jobs: President John A. Fallon III, Vice President for Student Affairs James Vick and Director of Public Safety Cindy Hall. General counsel Kenneth McKanders was reprimanded.

University officials were not available for comment Tuesday. But McKanders, in the response dated July 27, said the university accepts the federal findings. He outlined a number of steps to ensure EMU does a more effective job of responding to and reporting campus crime:

Creating a warning system to alert the campus of threats.

Training 50 staff members on the federal law that requires universities to report campus crimes in a timely manner.

Completing an independent audit of EMU’s crime statistics reported in the last three years.

Completing a safety and security audit of the main campus.

Providing bi-weekly campus incident report summaries to students, faculty and staff.

Holding forums each semester for students, faculty and staff to discuss campus crime.

“Let me express EMU’s sincere hope that our determined effort to achieve and maintain compliance, along with our cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education, will be favorably received and considered by you in the next stages of this process,” McKanders wrote.