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The Eastern Echo Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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EMU releases final investigation report on sexual assault allegations against fraternity members

EMU releases external report of its handling of sexual assault allegations against fraternity members.

Eastern Michigan University released the results of the investigation into the handling of Title IX cases involving fraternity members.

The investigation done by Cozen O’Connor Institutional Response Group concerned the sexual assault cases of three fraternity members between the years 2015 and 2019. EMU hired the firm in September 2020 following the arrests of Dustyn Durbin, a former member of Alpha Sigma Phi, and former Delta Tau Delta members D’Angelo McWilliams and Thomas Hernandez. 

"Eastern Michigan University remains committed to full transparency," the school said in a release. "The University is releasing the report in its entirety; no material has been omitted, redacted, or withheld at the University’s request."

Cozen O’Connor reviewed the past and present policies and procedures, email communications, University police records, information regarding EMU’s Title IX office, and an extensive range of documents.

Melody Werner, EMU's former Title IX Director, was cited as a point person for direct reports of misconduct by Durbin, McWilliams, and Hernandez.

Werner, among other individuals, were accused of manipulating or misleading survivors of sexual assault as well as discouraging them from reporting their case, according to the lawsuit. 

“In each case the report to the University was either made anonymously, or the complainant affirmatively chose not to proceed with a formal Title IX investigation on campus,“ the release stated.

However, the report also did note that the Title IX office did not keep relevant documentation of complainants, including clear communication with parties, meeting notes, and rationale for key case-related issues. 

“There is no question that campus sexual assault is a serious challenge in our nation and one that must unite us in a powerful commitment going forward,” Smith said in the release. “Collectively, we must confront sexual assault and support survivors who bravely come forward to tell of their past victimization by other students.”

The University announced further actions to support students, including adding two new Title IX staff members, expanding bystander training programs, and implementing an employee resource guide addressing how to file a Title IX report and communicate effectively with survivors.