Thursday, March 15, 2007

About 300 Eastern Michigan students attended a town hall meeting after accusing University officials of a rape cover-up

Orange Amir Taylor

Students said the school covered up the rape and murder of a fellow student.

The body of Laura Dickinson, 22, of Hastings was found inside her dorm room on Dec. 15.

Students claim they were told Dickinson died of what appeared to be natural causes.

"I kind of just feel like they were holding things back. They should have just told us," said student Bejarney Tabscott.

Police said Dickinson was raped and murdered.

Fellow EMU student Orange Amir Taylor, pictured right, was arrested Feb. 23. Police ultimately say they tied him to the slaying through a DNA match on seminal fluid found on Dickinson's body.

Taylor, of Southfield, faces open murder, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and other charges. His preliminary examination was delayed to March 22.

It took nearly three months for the information to be made public about the murder.

University President John Fallon said, "I feel pretty good how the university handled this, given all constraints and considerations."

The university put Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Vick on administrative leave while it conducts an internal investigation.

Students said the forum did help. "I felt most of my questions were being answered but yet I am a little bit uneasy about everything that is going on. "

"I think they should have told us; just being on campus, I feel so afraid," said Delisa May, an Emu student.

"I would of rather them not say anything, rather than having us thinking in the beginning there was no foul play. Then we hear there is. If you don't know for sure, don't say, or if you do know, don't lie," said student Danielle Clair.

This was the first of several forums scheduled. The next is scheduled for Thursday from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The national organization Security on Campuses Inc., meanwhile, filed a complaint against the university earlier this week with the U.S. Department of Education.

The King of Prussia, Pa.-based organization alleges Eastern may have violated a 1998 law by not disclosing that the death was being treated as a homicide investigation.

EMU reels after murder charges

Did Eastern violate Clery Act?

Case shocks many

EMU student died from asphyxiation

EMU officials criticized for way they handled campus killing


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