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Editor in Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.
Amid a federal lawsuit, criminal charges, and a letter from Representative Debbie Dingell to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cadona relating to sexual assaults reported at Eastern Michigan University, EMU President James Smith has released the following statement.
We welcome and appreciate Congresswoman Dingell's concern about this matter and share her interest in the safety and well-being of our students. We have stated from the outset our willingness to further engage in a review of University actions related to these cases, and this remains our commitment.
We appreciate the Department of Education’s support of institutions’ Title IX compliance efforts, and we would welcome its review of our actions, which are also currently being assessed by the independent external firm of Cozen O'Connor -- a national specialist in Title IX work. The University is committed to learning every detail as to whether our processes related to these cases were followed and, if not, why not and what steps should be taken so that our students are protected and feel supported in reporting sexual assault. We have stated from the beginning of this matter that we are committed to full transparency in this process – and the Cozen O’Connor report will be made public when it is finalized later this spring.
I want to reiterate my deep and unwavering support for all survivors of sexual assault, and our commitment to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for our students. There is no place for sexual violence in our community.
The survivors who have come forward are showing incredible bravery in choosing to tell their stories.
Protecting students is critical to the University’s educational mission. Our staff in law enforcement, Title IX, student affairs, and elsewhere work tirelessly every day to try to create a safe and supportive community for students, faculty and staff.
The University has initiated several actions in recent years to create greater awareness and encourage the reporting of sexual assaults. Much of this has been accomplished as a result of grants we have been awarded by the State of Michigan in recognition of these efforts. Details can be found in this Title IX grants update.
James Smith, Ph.D.
President, Eastern Michigan University