Those reports were made not only to campus police but also to counselors and at rape crisis centers. MSU Police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor points out that if a student tells police about an assault and then also talks to someone at a rape crisis center, the single crime could be counted more than once.
More often, however, sexual assaults are underreported to police. For example, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports for
U-M's police department show only one sexual assault on campus in 2005.
Angela Peoples, a junior at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, said awareness is vital. She is chief of operations for the Western Student Association, which has asked campus safety officials about the effectiveness of the blue-light phones placed across campus for emergency use.
Some in the association, she said, aren't convinced the blue light-system works.
She said the group is waiting for a response.
Despite those concerns, Peoples said she still feels safe on campus. In addition to the blue-light system, the public safety department has student employees who patrol regularly. And the university also provides free rides at night to women on campus.
"Students always want to be well-informed and want the administration to be as honest and forthcoming as possible," she said.
The death at Eastern
But the way that EMU handled the release of information in Dickinson's death has been criticized. The U.S. Department of Education is investigating whether EMU failed to inform students that she'd been sexually assaulted and killed.
Dickinson, who died Dec. 13, was asphyxiated. She was found Dec. 15 on the floor of her dorm room.
When the body was found, EMU officials insisted publicly that there was no foul play involved in her death. Fix said even the members of the rowing team didn't get any answers about what had happened to their friend and teammate.
"All I got were random e-mails," she said. I was really upset."
But about two months later, Taylor was arrested, and news that Dickinson may have been murdered sparked outrage on campus.
Fix said she's much more cautious and has considered changing schools. "My mom actually gave me Mace for my key chain," she said.
Contact KRISTEN JORDAN SHAMUS at 313-222-5997 or . Education writer Lori Higgins contributed to this report.
Copyright (c) 2007, Detroit Free Press Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.