Murder of Laura Dickinson

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Laura Dickinson was a student at Eastern Michigan University who was murdered by a fellow student on December 13, 2006. The response by university officials regarding the murder made headlines.[1][2] Eventually EMU was found in violation of the Clery Act.

Sexual assault and murder[edit]

Dickinson was killed in her residence hall room on December 13, 2006. DNA from semen found on her legs was matched to Orange Taylor III, also a student, who was convicted of the murder.[1][3] According to police reports, the investigation was regarded as a homicide; however, this was denied and only officially announced on the day of Taylor's arrest, February 23, 2007. His arrest took place on the first day students could not withdraw from classes and housing for a full refund.[4]


Violation of the Clery Act[edit]

A subsequent investigation by Detroit law firm Butzel Long found that EMU had violated the Clery Act by not notifying students and named Jim Vick, Vice President of Student Affairs, as the main source of the cover-up.[5] The report led to investigation of many high-level administrators.[citation needed]

On July 3, 2007 the Department of Education report relating to the Clery Act violations was released to the public. It states, "Several findings of noncompliance were discovered during the review which the Department [of Education] considers to be serious violations of the Clery Act." The result of this report has yet to be seen. EMU released the executive summary of its response to the DOE report on July 27, 2007.[6][7] In June 2008, the university announced that it had agreed to pay a fine of $350,000 for the violations of the Clery Act.[8] The fine at the time was the largest on record for a university.[9]


On December 13, 2007, EMU settled with the family and estate of Laura Dickinson for $2.5 million. The settlement does not include any admission of liability by EMU.[10]

Firing of university's president[edit]

The nationally reported scandal resulted in the firing of President John A. Fallon by the Board of Regents.[11] He was notified of the unanimous vote of the Board to fire him by a letter sent to his home on July 15, 2007. Although no formal reason for the termination was given, his dismissal was considered by many to be a direct result of his role in the cover-up of the on-campus homicide. Eastern Michigan's Faculty Association President supported the Board's decision. In addition, since then campus safety measures have been made in hall security.

At a special meeting called by the Board of Regents on Monday, July 16, 2007, the separation of President John Fallon was officially announced along with the separation of Jim Vick, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Cindy Hall, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police. A letter of discipline was placed in University Counsel Kenneth McKanders' file.[12][not in citation given] It was also announced that Donald Loppnow, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, would be appointed Executive Vice President and in this role serve as Acting President until an Interim President is selected.[13]


On April 7, 2008, a jury convicted Orange Taylor III of first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, home invasion, and theft charges.[14] He was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 7, 2008.[1][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Judges sentences Orange Taylor to life for Laura Dickinson's murder". Michigan Live. May 7, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Jurors say evidence against Orange Taylor III proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt". Michigan Live. April 8, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Taylor found guilty in EMU death". The Michigan Daily. April 7, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ ABC News. Good Morning America. Mystery at Eastern Michigan University
  5. ^ "A killing kept in the shadows". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  6. ^ United States Department of Education. DOE Draft Report.
  7. ^ Chronicle of Higher Education, July 5, 2007
  8. ^ Larcom, Geoff (2008-06-06). "Eastern Michigan University to pay $357,500 in federal fines over Laura Dickinson case". The Ann Arbor New. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  9. ^ "Education Dept. Imposes Largest Fine Yet for Campus Crime-Reporting Violation". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mich. College to Pay $2.5M in Dorm Death"
  11. ^ "University president fired after alleged rape cover-up" -, July 16, 2007
  12. ^ "Recalling John Fallon's tenure". Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "EMU president, two others fired over cover up accusations"
  14. ^ "Man convicted in Mich student's slaying"
  15. ^ "Orange Taylor Sentenced to Life"