The US Department of Education has released an 18-page report confirming that Eastern Michigan University (EMU) mishandled student Laura Dickinson’s rape and murder case in December 2006. The report accuses EMU of violating the Clery Act — a federal law that requires universities to report campus crimes to the community. EMU could face up to $27,500 in fines for failing to give “timely warning” to the public about a possible safety threat, according to the Detroit Free Press.
A police investigation, opened immediately after Dickinson’s body was found in her dorm room, concluded that her death was suspicious. An EMU-issued statement on December 16, 2006, however, stated, “at this point, there is no reason to suspect foul play.”
The arrest of and charges against fellow student Orange Taylor, III for Dickinson’s rape and murder in February came as a shock to the campus community, which believed that Dickinson had died of natural causes. “After [EMU] realized they had a murder, not only did they not warn people, they lied about it,” Senior Vice President S. Daniel Carter of Security on Campus Inc — a national nonprofit that ensures campus compliance with the Clery Act — told the Washington Post. “Every other residential student on that campus was risking their lives.”