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Univ. President Fired After Cover-Up

Eastern Michigan
University fired its president, months after top university officials were
accused of covering up the rape and slaying of a student by publicly ruling out
foul play despite evidence that later led to murder charges.

The president, John Fallon, confirmed that he was fired Sunday evening by a
unanimous vote of the board of regents, the Ann Arbor News reported in
its Monday editions.

Fallon says the termination letter was delivered by courier Sunday night to
the president’s house. It did not state a reason for the firing, he says. The
letter stated that the board had voted unanimously to terminate his employment
contract two years after his five-year contract took effect.

Fallon’s dismissal follows an independent law firm investigation and U.S.
Department of Education report, both of which found that the 23,500-student
public university violated the federal Jeanne Clery Act, which requires
colleges and universities to disclose campus security information.

The body of Laura Dickinson was discovered Dec. 15 in her dorm room. At the
time, university officials told Dickinson’s parents and the media that she died
of asphyxiation but that there was no sign of foul play, despite evidence to
the contrary.

It wasn’t until another EMU student was arrested in late February and
charged with murder that her family and fellow students learned she had been
raped and killed.

The accused student, Orange Taylor III, has pleaded not guilty to murder and criminal
sexual conduct charges in Dickinson’s death. He is scheduled for trial Oct. 15.

Many in the university’s administration were accused of covering up the
truth and endangering students to protect the school’s image, which has been
marred in recent years by tensions with faculty, students and the community.

The university’s vice president of student affairs, Jim Vick, and public
safety director Cindy Hall were also fired.

Fallon told the Ann Arbor News that the letter indicated his office
had been secured and arrangements would be made for him to retrieve his
personal items.

“As a citizen, I am disappointed in this hastily called meeting, without
any opportunity to be present or to respond,” Fallon told the newspaper. “I
have a story to tell and intend to tell it.”

–  Associated  Press
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