Published June 20, 2007
This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 19, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: It is definitely the "Big Outrage." She was raped and murdered in her dorm room, but her parents didn't find out what happened to her until two-and-a-half months later. You want to know why? Her university, Eastern Michigan, didn't tell the parents. Fellow students on campus weren't told either. Now how could that have happened, and did the university commit a crime by covering it up? "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy spoke to the father of that young woman earlier today. Douglas?
DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, John, and he is not happy with the university. He says, like everyone on campus, he was led to believe his daughter died of natural causes when she had clearly been killed.
KENNEDY (VOICE-OVER): Last December, Laura Dickinson was found dead in her dorm room at Eastern Michigan University. Police immediately suspected rape and murder, but the college kept the crime quiet, some say to protect their quaint campus image.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's utterly outrageous, and they were not thinking about protecting their students first.
TOM SIDLIK, EMU BOARD OF REGENTS: The findings are clear: The university got it wrong. What happened is unacceptable.
KENNEDY: In fact, for months official notices like this one insisted there was no reason to suspect foul play, even though administrators knew Dickinson had been discovered with a pillow over her face and semen on her leg. Her father says the lies led him to bury his daughter thinking she had died from a heart problem she had recently developed.
ROBERT DICKINSON, MURDERED STUDENT'S FATHER: We are obviously upset, but it is more we hope it doesn't happen to somebody else.
KENNEDY: In late February Dickinson's alleged killer and fellow student Orange Jamir Taylor was arrested for her rape and murder. But students point out he was free for weeks without any warning from the college to be careful. This man calls that a crime in itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it is a serious violation of federal law. A college can lose their eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs or face large fines, and it looks like Eastern Michigan will probably be facing some pretty hefty fines for their violations.
KENNEDY: Daniel Carter is vice president of security on campus, a non-profit group that studies campus crime. Recently he said he made a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Education.
DANIEL CARTER: What needs to happen is, the people who are responsible need to lose their jobs. You know this should never have been allowed to happen and policies and procedures need to be put in place that will make sure it never does happen again.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
KENNEDY: The University says it has not been able to comment on the cover-up because of the active internal and federal investigations. A spokesman told me, however, they plan to follow the recommendations of the Department of Education to make sure, as everybody wants, that this never happens again.
GIBSON: Douglas, it seems that it is fairly elementary that the concept of not revealing a murder is wrong. How do they explain themselves?
KENNEDY: You know, the university really is remaining silent. Some firings are around the corner on this. The Board of Regents held a meeting today in which they blasted their own university and said, you know, something very untoward happened here.
GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, thank you.
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