Liz Hornyak: On this week’s episode, two EMU alumni have been charged with counts of sexual assault and misconduct, and an Ypsi Votes update on the next Washtenaw County Prosecutor, and EMU announces that it will be postponing all fall athletics until 2021. I am your host Liz Hornyak and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Two EMU alumni have been charged with numerous counts of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. One man, Dustyn Michael Durbin, is being charged with nine sexual assaults that span the last six years, while he was attending EMU. Seven women have come forward claiming to be victims of Durbin’s misconduct. Officials are looking into incidents that are said to have occurred between Nov. 2015 and May 2019. Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor John Vella said that Durbin contacted numerous victims after the assaults to intimidate them from contacting police. Durbin has plead not guilty.
A second man, Deangelo McWilliams, who is now a Washtenaw County Deputy, has been charged with criminal sex conduct towards multiple women between 2015-2019.
Both men were a part of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, and some of Durbin’s violent acts of sexual force are said to have been committed in the Alpha Sigma Phi house. The 1972 anti-discrimination law, Title IX, has expanded to add unavoidable liability, making it harder for universities to take a passive role in rape prevention. However, sexual misconduct among campus Greek Life continues to be a concern. According to the National Institute of Justice, 25% of sexual assault victims in one survey were sorority members. Additionally, fraternity men are three times more likely to commit rape than their non-Greek peers.
University President James Smith said in a statement, “The university takes these matters extremely seriously. We have no higher priority than to create and maintain a safe, thriving, and welcoming community for our students. We stand by survivors and vow to do everything in our power to support them.”
If you believe that you are a survivor of or witness to Durbin’s misconduct, please contact Detective Jessica Lowry or Detective Annette Coppock. Detective Lowery can be reached at 734.368.8784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Detective Coppock can be reached at 734.368.8776 or at Acoppock@cityofypsilanti.com.
Eli Savit won the Democratic primary for the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office with 50.5% of the vote. With no Republican candidate in the November general election, Savit will be replacing incumbent Brian Mackie, who was first elected in 1992. Savit campaigned on structural reforms, and hopes to end cash bail, reform the practice of plea bargaining, and end mass incarceration. Savit was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, singer John Legend and former Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed. You can read more about Savit on our website.
Finally, we have a long awaited update on university fall sports - On Saturday, August 8, EMU announced that they will be postponing all fall athletics until Spring 2021. This comes with the MAC’s decision to suspend all fall sports.
This affects men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, field hockey, men and women’s golf, women’s tennis and baseball and softball. According to EMU President James Smith, the university came to this decision because it was the safest option for students, faculty, and staff, and in the competitive field, there are limited opportunities for social distancing.
Script: Jasmine Boyd
Host: Liz Hornyak
Produced: Lauren Smith
Stories reported by Cameryn Eberly, Austin Elliot, and Luke Gremban