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Follow-up: The Eastern Michigan University Rape And Murder Story

July 4, 2007

About two weeks ago I relayed a story about a rape/murder/cover-up at Eastern Michigan University. The Chicago Tribune provided a follow-up report today.

The Department of Education recently ruled that EMU violated the “Clery Act,” a federal law which apparently acts as a kind of sunshine law for campus crime. Known properly as the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act,” the law was enacted in 1990 (Clery’s picture is right). When Laura Dickinson was found dead (picture left), the Tribune reports that EMU “told her parents and the media that she died of asphyxiation but that there was no sign of foul play.”

I’ve always wondered why my current employer (a large Jesuit university) posted monthly crime statistics. It’s not that I thought it unwise for them to do so; in fact I thought better of them for being upfront with the statistics. Before today I did not realize the posting was prompted by legal considerations.

In skimming the Wikipedia entry for the Clery Act, I discovered a U.S. Department of Education link where one can search for crime statistics on campuses across the nation. That page is located here.

In conducting a sample search I learned that statistics are only available through 2005. It makes little sense that statistics for 2006 are not yet available by July 2007. There has to be a legal timeframe for reporting, but does one exist for posting?

Laura Dickinson’s story is a tragic one. Apparently and unfortunately it is not unlike Jeanne Clery’s was in 1986. But if more people will pay attention to their rights, and expose situations like EMU’s, perhaps the phrase “on-campus security” will continue be more than the oxymoron it historically has been. – TL

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One Comment
  1. This whole story shows that campus security at our universities leaves much to be desired. And thank you for the link to crime statiscis on campuses.

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