Thursday, June 21, 2007

Michigan University Suspected Of Murder Cover-Up

This is just disgusting. Allegedly, Eastern Michigan University allowed Laura Dickinson’s parents and school mates to believe she died in a freak accident, while the truth is, she was murdered.

Her family only discovered the grisly truth 10 weeks after they buried their 22-year old daughter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Laura was murdered in Dec. 15, 2006.

And besides the fact that the next day the school said Laura's death was not foul play, it violated the Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and near their campuses. Oh, and let's keep in mind that the school placed everyone on that campus in danger when it didn't tell mention there was a killer running around.

While many believe this is a cover-up to protect the school’s image, the school's board of regents hired a Detroit law firm to investigate the matter and it revealed that evidence to the murder was covered up.

Apparently, the law firm discovered that some school officials didn’t know a criminal investigation was going on under their noses and were unintentionally passing along misinformation. Other school officials knew about what happened but said nothing, according to the report.

James Vick, vice president of student affairs who oversees the school's housing and campus-police departments, told the Dickinson family that murder wasn’t suspected in Laura’s death. And here’s the most insulting thing that he said in the interview with the LA Times:

"We probably should have said there are some suspicious circumstances here, and that probably would have ended the problem," Vick, who has been placed on paid leave, said. "Certainly one could armchair-quarterback it, but to say there was a cover-up or some sort of insidious plan there is crazy."

Really? Because Laura was found naked from the waist down in her dorm room, with a pillow covering her head, with traces of semen were found on her leg. But apparently Vick doesn’t believe that wasn’t suspicious enough to tell the family in the first place. No one with half a brain will hire him after this, one can only hope.

The law firm’s report states that Vick ordered the document describing the nightmarish murder scene to be shredded. Of course, Vick claims he’s innocent and his lawyer sent a letter to the board of regents that his client took a polygraph test, which shows he is telling the truth. The article does not mention where or who performed the test, so Vick’s credibility is still shot.

And then we have John Fallon, the university president. He claims that no one told him about Laura’s death. The faculty council wants him fired. And like a bunch of cowards, Fallon and the rest of the university did not even have the decency to hold a personal meeting with the Dickinson family to apologize. They had to hear Fallon’s apology from the media.

Of course the spineless Fallon wouldn’t want to meet with the Dickinson family. What would he say, “Gee, I’m sorry we told you that cock and bull story about your daughter’s death”?

And how would he answer the family’s $64,000 question of why they were lied to in the first place? Fallon’s bright enough not to hold a meeting with them, not that he needed a lawyer to tell him that.

It’s nothing new that colleges and universities cover up crimes to protect their image. And that’s what happened here. Even though police arrested a fellow student and charged him with Laura’s rape and murder, the lies told by the university cannot erase the damage that it caused to the Dickinson family and students of Eastern Michigan University.

Besides the school insulting the memory of Laura Dickinson and calling her death a “freak accident,” the police acted irresponsible as well. According to the L.A. Times and the Washington Post, the police did not once contact Laura’s family. Not about their suspicions of the crime scene, or that their investigation uncovered that she was raped, or that they were questioning students and staff and taking DNA samples.

In fact, I have yet to find in any news article where the police had any contact with the Dickinson family from the moment they arrived in her dorm room on that December night to the arrest of a suspect.

Not only is it unheard of that the police wouldn’t contact the Dickinson family but one cannot help but wonder what type of pull Eastern Michigan University has over the police department.

Because the police always inform the next of kin when there is a murder and they usually like to interview the family about such things as, did Laura have any enemies or boyfriends, how did she get along with family and friends. But I guess the police have the same deluded way of thinking that Vick has.

The fact that the family was not contacted by the police is highly suspicious. Because the police are supposed to be outside the jurisdiction of Eastern Michigan University’s control, right?