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Students hold rally day after sex assault lawsuit filed against Eastern Michigan University

Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 17:42:59-04

(WXYZ)  — A growing number of sex assault and cover-up claims have been made against Eastern Michigan University, EMU police, a former Title IX director and two fraternity houses.

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On Thursday, there was a rally on EMU's campus where a large crowd marched and spoke out against what they call a culture of allowing sexual assault without consequences.

“These ladies need justice. They went to people they thought cared about them and were told welcome to the club,” said a student at the rally.

In a massive show of support for survivors of alleged sexual assault, this group of students at EMU came together to encourage one another and march to end what they call an unacceptable culture.

It comes a day after the filing of a federal lawsuit by attorney Tod Flodd on behalf of 11 women.

Now, more students like Charlotte Trim are coming forward on the record and asking to be heard.

“I did go to police the next day and I got scared out of reporting the person," said Trim.

“Enough is enough. One person is too many. This has happened for too long,” said Katie Lane-Waters, an EMU student.

Madison Petroski said she had been called a liar multiple times.

“Told you’re not his type and shouldn’t happen. I’m not the kind of person he goes for,” she said.

So far, the filing says there are more than 30 alleged rapes from 2015-2020, both at EMU and off campus, and claims EMU turned a blind eye to it all.

Of those, nine women were allegedly raped by Dustyn Durbin, who is now awaiting criminal trial after being charged.

“I hope every person sexually assaulted gets the justice they need,” said Trim.

Flood says at least four more survivors have now joined the civil case, two as a result of our reporting last night. Ypsilanti police say they’re still investigating.

Two fraternities, also named as defendants, are yet to respond to our questions about alleged gang rapes.

In the meantime, demanding sweeping changes & accountability, organizers of this rally say survivors who dropped out suffered PTSD and depression need to see change and transparency.

EMU issued an updated statement today:

"We share students' concerns over sexual assaults and fully endorse the expression of their views in this public manner. Protecting students is critical to the University’s educational mission, and our staff in law enforcement, Title IX, student affairs, and elsewhere work every day to try to provide a safe environment for our students to learn. The University stands with all survivors of sexual assault and is committed to supporting them. Every student should feel comfortable that they are safe on campus. We would like to note that the University reached out through their counsel to try to engage with the students prior to them filing the lawsuit, in order to further understand and, more importantly, act on their concerns. Please note this campus Q&A for further context and perspective [emich.edu] on these cases. To reiterate, Eastern Michigan University takes all claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct seriously and is committed to the thorough investigation of these incidents. We impore students: If you have any information or wish to report any incident of sexual assault or misconduct, please contact EMU Police at 734-487-1222 or at dps_questions@emich.edu, or file an incident report with the EMU Title IX Office [emich.edu]."

“They’ve been doing their best, but now their best just isn’t good enough,” said Petroski.

Women who attended the rally say Ypsilanti police did what EMU police would not, as far as investigating thoroughly to uncover the truth, and the work continues.