Monday, June 25, 2007

Retroactive Distrust

My trust in my employer, Eastern Michigan University, is wavering. In the past I have given them a great deal of slack about things such as the University House. Now I am starting to wonder if my trust was ill placed.

In December a student, Laura Dickinson, was raped and murdered on campus. The strange part was that we (the university community) didn't know that a crime had been committed until another student was arrested for the crime on February 23. We had received the sad news that a student had died on campus, something that seems to happens once every few years for various reasons, but until the arrest the university's communications with the community (and with her parents) had indicated that there was no reason to suspect foul play. Even after the arrest I wanted to give the university the benefit of the doubt and assume that either officials were ignorant of the facts surrounding her death or that they had some other justifiable reason for the "no cause for alarm" communiques.

On June 8, the board of regents hired a law firm to investigate and report on the situation. I'm no lawyer, but the time frame given in the report (here) sure makes it look like the university performed a cover-up operation. When it comes to conspiracy theories, I have always tended to assume incompetence over impropriety, but this is just too fishy. EMU may have even broken the "Clery Act," a law that requires federally funded institutions to divulge crimes that occur on campus.

I now find myself wondering if any of the slack I had formerly extended the university was well founded. If the default position is "deny everything, but recant and apologize in the face of incontrovertible evidence" then I am hardly inspired to trust.

EDIT: I have met most of the EMU staff cited in these stories during my time here. If someone wants to contact me and set me straight on some of this, especially regarding the "no foul play" communique, I would love to hear from you.


  1. what is the University House?

  2. It's a new building completed in 2003 that acts as banquet hall for fund raising and as residence for the university's president. The costs and funding sources resulted in something of a scandal here, and eventually contributed to the president leaving.

    I've added a link on the main entry to the Ann Arbor News' list of articles.