July 16, 2007
By Pamela Mortimer
The President of Eastern Michigan University was fired Sunday in the cover-up of a studentís rape and murder.
Sunday evening, Eastern Michigan University President John Fallon was terminated by a unanimous decision of the Board of Regents. Board secretary Jackie Kurtz has confirmed the termination of Fallonís five year contract, of which he had served two years as the University top official.
The termination letter was delivered to Fallon on Sunday night and did not state a reason for his dismissal. The letter also stated that Fallonís office had been secured and that arrangements would be made so that he could collect any personal items.
"As a citizen, I am disappointed in this hastily called meeting, without any opportunity to be present or to respond," Fallon stated. "I have a story to tell and intend to tell it."
Although the Board of Regents has not released any details regarding the Presidentís firing, the decision follows an independent investigation and U.S. Department of Education report which stated that the University had violated the Clery Act, a federal law requiring colleges and universities to disclose campus security information.
Several officials in the university's administration were accused of orchestrating the cover-up and endangering studentsí lives to protect the school's image, which has been tarnished in recent years by ongoing conflicts with faculty, students, and the community.
The body of Laura Dickinson, a 22 year old student, was discovered in her dorm room on December 15. Top officials of Eastern Michigan University told both her parents and the media that she had died of asphyxiation but that there was no sign of foul play. The evidence clearly stated otherwise. The truth didnít come out until another student was arrested and charged with the slaying of his fellow student. It was then that Lauraís parents learned their daughter had been raped and murdered.
With asphyxia as the only cause of death, with no further explanation, the
Dickinson family was baffled. "Not knowing anything what was going on, we
assumed she might have had a heart attack, she might have had an aneurism, who
knows what?" said Lauraís father, Bob Dickinson.
Contrary to the statements released by the University, the medical examiner's report stated that Laura Dickinson had been found naked from the waist down, a pillow placed over her head. The report clearly stated "foul play suspected". Yet no one told her family.
"Somebody chose to say nothing and that's where it all started," said Bob Dickinson.
The president of the faculty union, Howard Bunsis, stated that everyone involved in the cover-up should no longer be employed by the university.
"It's now time for the university to move forward," Bunsis said. "When I say move forward, I mean put a total focus on what happens in the classroom between students and faculty. We've had a difficult time."
The fate of† Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Vick and Public Safety Director Cindy Hall has yet to be determined. Pamela Young, a spokeswoman for the University, said she couldn't discuss Fallon until after the Mondayís meeting.
Fallon could not be reached for comment.