October 25, 2013
To Students, Faculty and Staff:
Eastern Michigan University is a great, historic public university. We are 164-years old and based in the beautiful historic college town of Ypsilanti. It is a dream location, near a major airport with direct flights around the world, great history, near all of the cultural and sports attractions of Detroit and next to Ann Arbor. The Eastern family's first priority under my tenure as President has been the safety of our campus -- this includes working with the Ypsilanti community to mutually increase collaboration to create a wonderful living and learning environment. These efforts, together with the dedicated commitment of our outstanding faculty and staff, have contributed to record freshman enrollment at Eastern.
We have come together in the wake of recent events to talk, listen and learn how we can all work together -- 23,300 students and more than 1,900 faculty and staff -- to share our love of Eastern and our desire to make the college experience affordable, safe and transformative for our students -- leading to successful careers in Michigan and around the world.
A major area of focus over the past several days has been on increased collaboration among our community safety partners -- the EMU Police Department, the Ypsilanti Police Department, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, and Ypsilanti Township. As I reported in our community forum Monday afternoon, we initiated a meeting with Ypsilanti city government and police officials, in which student leaders Desmond Miller and Brandon Britt participated, to examine how we could work together more effectively to increase safety in areas surrounding the EMU campus. Over the past three days, the discussions expanded to include the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and Ypsilanti Township.
I am pleased to announce that Eastern Michigan University and the other police agencies listed above have agreed to increase patrols in the areas surrounding the EMU campus. These expanded patrols will begin tonight, with each of the agencies dedicating officers to patrolling the area. Assigned officers will meet at the EMU Department of Public Safety headquarters each night to coordinate their efforts. This news release includes complete details of the expanded patrols and how it will work. Our public safety partners and government leaders in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County and Ypsilanti Township all share our strong commitment to keep EMU students and community members safe.
In addition to the increased patrols, we continue to work aggressively with several landlords in the area to identify further safety measures that can be implemented in those complexes. Our discussions include adding security cameras and emergency call stations, organizing a neighborhood watch program, and expanding shuttle hours into the night. These discussions have been productive and we will continue to keep you updated on our progress. As I have reported previously, we will soon launch a new off-campus housing resource website that will help students make informed choices and better evaluate off-campus housing options. This will be launched next week and we will be sure to let you know when the website goes live.
We announced last night that the reward for information leading to solving the homicide of Demarius Reed has been increased to $10,000, of which $2,500 has been committed by the University. Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-SPEAK UP (1-800-773-2587), online at www.1800speakup.org, or via text to CRIMES (274637). If you know anything about this case, it is important that you speak up. We have not forgotten about last December's tragic loss of Julia Niswender. As Ypsilanti Police indicated at our campus forum on Monday, the case is reviewed daily as they search for new clues and information. I had an opportunity to talk with Julia's parents last night at the "Increase the Peace" march, rally and candlelight vigil, and share with them that Eastern remains committed to helping Ypsilanti Police solve this crime. We also committed $2,500 to increase her reward fund, in which two rewards are currently offered, one for $10,000, and the second for $5,000 also through Crime Stoppers.
I want to thank all of the students involved in the "Increase the Peace" rally, march and candlelight vigil. While the chill of late fall was in the air -- hearts were warm in faith, in remembrance, and in hope.
I recognize that many of you have questions and concerns about safety. I plan to continue to be available to answer questions and provide updates about safety and security matters in the days and weeks ahead. I will have two "Conversations with the President: Safety and Security," on Monday, October 28. They will take place from 9-10 a.m. in 320 Pray-Harrold, and from 3-4 p.m. in 318 Owen Building (College of Business). I will be there with Police Chief Bob Heighes and Provost Kim Schatzel to provide updates and answer any questions you may have.
I want everyone in our Eastern community to have a voice in helping to make our community safer. If you have safety or security suggestions, please send them to Increase_the_Peace@emich.edu. We appreciate any and all comments and suggestions you may have.
Eastern Michigan University is a community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, that cares deeply about each other. I understand that this past week has been difficult for a tight-knit community like ours. We will continue to focus on making this a safe community for all of us.
For ongoing updates and related information about safety and security, SEEUS, counseling and other important resources, please continue to visit http://www.emich.edu/community-notice/