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Severance for school chiefs fired in scandal

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Three university administrators who were forced out this week after their school was accused of covering up the dorm room rape and killing of a student will receive $550,000 combined in severance packages, documents show.

John Fallon, who was fired from his post as president of Eastern Michigan University , will get the equivalent of one year's salary, $225,000, under his contract, said Ward Mullens, university spokesman.

Jim Vick, vice president of student affairs, and Cindy Hall, public safety director, will be allowed to retire and collect pensions and benefits, according to their severance agreements, which were obtained by The Ann Arbor News under the Freedom of Information Act. They also will get a year's salary under the agreements, together totaling $245,253, plus vacation and sick time.

Vick, who worked at Eastern for 34 years, told the newspaper he felt the settlement was fair. Fallon hasn't returned calls seeking comment, but he has indicated he intends to speak out.

The cover up allegations surfaced several weeks after the Dec. 15 death of student Laura Dickinson, 22, whose body was found in her dorm room. At the time of her death, university officials told her parents and the media that there was no sign of foul play, despite evidence to the contrary.

It was not until an Eastern student was arrested in late February and charged with murder that Dickinson's family and fellow students learned she had been raped and killed. The student accused in Dickinson's death, Orange Taylor III of Southfield, has pleaded not guilty to murder and criminal sexual conduct charges. He is scheduled for trial Oct. 15.

An independent law firm investigation and US Department of Education report both found that Eastern Michigan violated the federal Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to disclose campus security information.

The Board of Regents voted late Sunday to fire Fallon, and on Monday it ousted Vick and Hall.

Many in the administration had been accused of covering up the truth of Dickinson's death and endangering students to protect the school's image.

"This board will not tolerate anyone who sabotages the educational mission of this university by participating in these destructive behavior patterns," said the board's chairman, Thomas Sidlik.