Student safety considered as Eastern Michigan University revamps off-campus housing fair

Friday, January 10, 2014

The impetus behind the change began with the slaying of EMU student Julia Niswender in her off-campus apartment on Dec. 11, 2012, and was heightened in recent months after a handful of EMU students were attacked while at their off-campus apartments. EMU football player Demarius Reed was killed at University Green apartments on Oct. 18, and in December a student was struck by a stray bullet that came through her window while she was in bed asleep.

EMU's police department has ramped up its collaboration with local law enforcement and is hiring 10 officers to assist in expanding the force's off-campus presence, but the school is also looking at how it can better inform students about safety concerns when living off campus.

"We felt that it would be better to run the off-campus housing fair internally at the university, the goal being to tighten the standards," EMU vice president for government and community relations Leigh Greden said in a November interview.

"We can't make [property owners] install cameras or make them change the locks," he said. "What we can do, using our leverage, is give our students information about which buildings are engaging in good practices so our students can vote with their wallets."

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