Category Archives: Security and Safety

Ed Thomas found not guilty on all counts in Demarius Reed murder

Yikes. I for one wasn’t expecting not guilty on all counts.

From mLive, “Jury finds man accused in Demarius Reed homicide not guilty on all counts.” And from The Eastern Echo, “Jury finds Ed Thomas not guilty on all counts in murder of Demarius Reed.”

“Ypsilanti area ‘safety alliance’ among 3 police departments to be announced Tuesday”

I still kind of feel like I’m on vacation/summer break, so I suspect posting here will remain slow for a while. But I saw this in mLive this morning and thought it might be interesting to folks here:  “Ypsilanti area ‘safety alliance’ among 3 police departments to be announced Tuesday.” The opening paragraphs:

A press conference has been called for Tuesday morning by State Rep. David Rutledge where he is expected to announce a “safety alliance” among three police agencies to offer better coverage of Ypsilanti and the campus of Eastern Michigan University.

The alliance is expected to be a partnership among the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, the Ypsilanti Police Department and the EMU Police Department.

This is all fine and good, but didn’t this alliance already exist?

Board of Regents News: Tuition, Financial Aid, Safety/Security Upgrades

Seems like we’re in that time of the year where nothing is going on– until everything is going on.

Anyway, let’s start with a  summary of some of the news from the Board of Regents meeting the other day:

  • Tuition is going up 3.2%, which means if you’re an in-state undergraduate taking 30 credits, you’ll pay just shy of $10K in tuition.
  • 70% of the budget at EMU comes from tuition. I think that’s significant to remember because it wasn’t that long ago (okay, maybe as long as 20 years ago, but still) that percentage was less than half. So again, while higher education is more expensive now in part because of administrative bloat and spending on non-educational things (sports and cushy facilities, for example), college is also that much more expensive than it used to be because taxpayers are paying a lot less.
  • The press release EMU sent me of course emphasized the positive, “Eastern Michigan University increases financial aid and invests in academic programs while maintaining commitment to affordable education.” To quote from the press release, “The budget reflects a $4.6 million increase, or 11.7 percent, in University-sponsored financial aid over the previous year. Over the last seven years, Eastern’s financial aid has risen from $21.4 million in 2007-08 to $43.8 million in 2014-15.” So that’s a plus.
  • Of interest to this insider audience: the budget also includes 36 faculty hires for fall 2014, which doesn’t seem too bad but also seems down from the previous year.
  • As reported in mLive article and this press release, the board approved $1.7 million to be spent toward safety and security things– more patrols, more cameras, better lighting, but also a fair amount of money for “evacuation signage” and for those emergency defibrillator things. I wish/hope there was some money being spent on community relations and partnering with the Ypsi PD too.

“Again and Again”

From Inside Higher Ed comes “Again and Again,” an essay by Lawrence Schall, who is President of Oglethorpe University, which is a call for presidents of universities to speak out in favor of gun control. He’s of course referencing the tragic and far too common events of last weekend, the shootings at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Inside Higher Ed has a story specifically about that, “Deadly Rampage.”

It’s terrible on so many different levels, of course, and as long as guns are so easily available in this country, we all know this is going to happen again. We just don’t know when or where.

EMU student homicide: Man who called witnesses snitches on Instagram has charges dismissed

I had not heard anything about this side story as it relates to the Reed murder this past fall, but from mLive comes “EMU student homicide: Man who called witnesses snitches on Instagram has charges dismissed.” A quote from the opening paragraphs:

A 20-year-old Detroit man accused of intimidating witnesses in the Demarius Reed homicide case had charges against him dropped Tuesday in the Washtenaw County Trial Court.

Judge Donald Shelton decided Jarrell Montez Broadnax was well within his First Amendment right to free speech when he posted pictures on social media of two men who testified in Reed’s homicide case and called them snitches.

“Even mean-spirited and despicable speech is protected,” Shelton said.

“Trial date set for 2 men accused of killing Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed”

From mLive comes “Trial date set for 2 men accused of killing Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed.”  From the opening paragraphs:

The two men accused in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Eastern University of Michigan football player Demarius Reed could face two separate juries at trials in June, a judge said Tuesday.

Judge Donald Shelton set June 23 trial dates for Ed Thomas and Kristopher Pratt, both 20 and from Detroit.

Shelton said there will be a double jury trial for the two men, but did not elaborate on why.

What’s a “double jury trial?” Is that two juries in one trial? Why not two trials?

“Laundry stolen out of washing machine at EMU residence hall”

Quite the dangerous caper reported in mLive last night: “Laundry stolen out of washing machine at EMU residence hall.” Here’s a quote:

EMU Police were dispatched at 8:33 p.m. Monday to the Putnam Residence Hall for a report of stolen laundry. According to the report, someone stole a resident’s clothing items out of a washing machine.

The theft reportedly took place between 9:30 p.m. Sunday and midnight on Monday, according to police.

The comments alone are worth a visit to the story. My favorite comes from EMU’s own Geoff Larcom and his spin that this is evidence that EMU police are “visible, known, and in fact relied upon at Eastern.” Sure, that’s what it is. Or else its evidence that you shouldn’t leave your clothes in the washing machine for too long….

“When May I Shoot a Student?”

A loyal reader sent me news of this New York Times Op-Ed piece, “When May I Shoot a Student?” which is a response from Boise State University professor Greg Hampikian to a bill likely to become law in Idaho that will allow guns on campus. Here are the opening paragraphs:

In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?

I am a biology professor, not a lawyer, and I had never considered bringing a gun to work until now. But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.

I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.

By the way, yet another advantage from my point of view for teaching online….

“Prosecutor’s office declines charges in Peninsular Place death”

I meant to post this yesterday: from mLive, “Prosecutor’s office declines charges in Peninsular Place death.” Remember the father of one of the tenants of Peninsular Place apartments who was killed in a struggle with his daughter’s roommates? That’s the case that isn’t going to be prosecuted.

There will be no charges in the death of 46-year-old John Lawrence even though the case has been investigated for almost a year as a homicide, Ypsilanti police announced Thursday night.

An email from Lt. Deric Gress said the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office had recently submitted their decision to the Ypsilanti Police Department to not charge anyone.

Gress said the prosecutor’s office cited a number of factors, including self defense on the side of the accused and medical issues on the side of the victim.

“I think the detectives felt the same way as the prosecutor’s office, … that although there may have been probable cause to arrest at the time of the incident, proving it beyond a reasonable doubt would have been difficult at best,” Gress added in a follow-up email.

I certainly don’t know enough about the case to have any idea if this was “the right call” or not, but it doesn’t exactly make me feel a ton more confident in Ypsi police or in that crappy apartment complex.

“Police: Men pull gun on EMU student after making fun of his pants”

I saw this story via an email alert and in The Echo, but I thought I’d share this article from mLive, “Police: Men pull gun on EMU student after making fun of his pants.” Now, I obviously don’t want to see anyone have a gun pulled on them by a bunch of random thugs driving around Ypsi for any reason, and this is just another example of the sort of petty crime and dumb stuff that gives this town a bad name. It’s frustrating.

That said (and I am glad the EMU student ran away and reported this to the cops), am I the only one who is wondering what exactly was the deal with this guy’s pants?