Students protest Eastern Michigan University’s handling of sexual assault reports

11 women involved in lawsuit against university

Students protest Eastern Michigan University's handling of sexual assaults
Students protest Eastern Michigan University's handling of sexual assaults

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eleven women are involved in a lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University that alleges the university turned a blind eye to reports of sexual assault.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court and alleges that the school turned a blind eye or was indifferent to report of rape.

The women said many of the assaults happened at two fraternities, Alpha Sigma Phi and Delta Tau Delta. Three of the men named in the lawsuit have been previously charged with sexually assaulting several women.

READ: More victims come forward in Eastern Michigan University sexual assault investigation

According to the lawsuit, EMU is currently investigating 30 “brutal rapes that occurred at Eastern Michigan University and in the surrounding area from 2015 through 2020.”

On Thursday, hundreds of students gathered on campus to demand better of the school. The students gathered at Frederick Pease Auditorium.

They said the lawsuit isn’t news to them. They said that there have been reports of similar incidents circulating around campus for years and that now is the time for justice.

Jocelyn Jones, an EMU sophomore from Detroit, believes that the university needs to be held accountable.

“It’s such a bad look on the University for survivors who attend the school here, the people who come here and have been assaulted to know the university played a role in protecting assaulters, it’s disgusting,” Jones said.

EMU junior, Madison Petroski of Flat Rock, said she’s a survivor and organized the event.

“It makes me angry. I’m disgusted and it needs to be taken care of immediately,” Petroski said.

In a campus update to EMU students, University President James Smith said, “In light of the lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of several sexual assault survivors, I want to reiterate my deep and unwavering support for all victims of sexual assault, and my commitment to do everything I can to ensure a safe environment for our students.

“The survivors who have come forward are showing incredible bravery in choosing to tell their stories. Although the University did not know about most of these cases at the time, we believe the claims of assault and are sickened to think that these events could have transpired on or around our campus community.”

Click here to read the full statement from Smith.

The lawsuit is available below:


About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.