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Susan Martin, Eastern Michigan University President, Warned About Drinking After Conflict With Alum

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Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin was reprimanded in the spring by Board of Regents members for her behavior at an alumni event and alcohol misuse, she disclosed Tuesday, July 10, 2012.
Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin was reprimanded in the spring by Board of Regents members for her behavior at an alumni event and alcohol misuse, she disclosed Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

DETROIT -- The president of Eastern Michigan University disclosed Tuesday that she was reprimanded in the spring after an argument with an alumnus and she faces being fired if she is involved in any future public incidents related to alcohol use.

President Susan Martin and Board of Regents Chairman Roy Wilbanks made the announcement to students, faculty and workers at the university, located in Ypsilanti, via email. The argument occurred April 23 at an alumni event in Washington, D.C.

In a May 17 letter from the board, Wilbanks and two other regents described Martin's conduct at the alumni event as "inappropriate" and said it "reflected poorly on the University" and on Martin as its president. The regents said the incident involved the consumption of alcohol.

They also told Martin that there had been prior incidents and they were concerned that her "misuse of alcohol" could result in "liability to the university in the use of your university supplied vehicle. "

"You must deal with this issue immediately. If there are any further incidents, you will leave us no alternative but to recommend to the board that your employment be terminated for just cause," the letter said.

The letter did not provide more details about the April incident. In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Martin said there was a "very brief disagreement" with an alumni over the "turnover" in Eastern Michigan's leadership prior to her arrival. She said she immediately apologized.

"I wanted to share with the campus that this event happened and I made a mistake, and I wanted to share the board's letter and my response," she told the AP. "I made a mistake and I apologize for it. I lost my temper. I promise I will not let it happen again."

She did not name the alumnus and did not provide more details about the incident.

Martin acknowledged a 2005 impaired driving case that regents were aware of before she was hired in July 2008.

"I have not had any alcohol-related ticket since the 2005 incident, nor before for that matter," Martin wrote in a letter last week to the board.

Martin replaced John Fallon, who was fired in July 2007 in the wake of a cover-up of information about a student's 2006 slaying.

Martin had been provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs for the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

In Tuesday's email, Martin pointed to increased enrollment, improved campus safety, a $200 million investment in facilities and the completion of a $56 million capital campaign as accomplishments during her tenure at Eastern Michigan.

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