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Posted on Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

EMU President Susan Martin locked keys in trunk during 2005 drunken driving arrest

By Staff

Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin locked her keys in the trunk of her car during a 2005 drunken driving arrest at Grand Valley State University, the Detroit News reports.

Martin also conveyed to the arresting officer that she did not expect to be taken into custody, according to the report.

Details on the incident come to light as Martin was reprimanded this week by EMU regents. Martin, who apologized for losing her temper during an argument with an alumnus, was asked to seek counseling due to the alcohol she'd been drinking then and during other undisclosed "prior incidents."

Read the Detroit News story.



Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Give it a rest. No one cares about Susan Martin's alcohol issues. Really, no one cares. How did she get to be president of EMU if she had all these alcohol problems? Enough already.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

I am beyond disgusted, appalled, and repulsed with the media's continued overreporting, pointing fingers, and blowing all of this completely out of proportion. Seriously, this is worse than harrassment. Leave my President, and my University, alone. You've done enough damage already, and we don't need more. Go cover the legitimate, actually harmful, dangerous, irresponsible, etc scandals. Nothing more to see here.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Perhaps since all they taught you, wherever you went, was to doodle, I could say the same.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

Amberle Since they won't let me color you a picture I will have to leave you in the dark. And I thought they did a better job of teaching at EMU!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Perhaps if there were anything of intelligence or related to my President, I would. But, as it is, so far I have done nothing but explain what should be pretty basic understanding of the differences between hypothetical/'what if' and reality. If you don't get what I'm saying by now, you never will.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

"I can't honestly even believe I'm still responding to this." You have not really responded yet! By your "logic" Its OK to drink and drive until you kill someone. Yes or No?


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 8 p.m.

I'm addressing the airplane sized holes in your logic, not the "realities" of drinking and driving, of which I am fully aware. Anyone can drink and drive as much as they want to, BUT until they ACTUALLY kill someone, or hurt someone, the injury/death in question is a POSSIBILITY, a HYPOTHETICAL, nothing more. You cannot say that someone who drinks and drives will kill someone because there have been reported cases of such incidents. That is poor, at absolute best, reasoning and logic. It's applying traits of the group to the individual, and that never, ever works. I can't honestly even believe I'm still responding to this.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

Amberle So if someone drinks and drives EVERY week but they don't kill anyone, it is only hypothetical that they could?What about once a month? Once a year? I am sure all those that have lost loved ones to drunk drivers would be sympathetic because until it happens its only "hypothetical" . You need to look into the "reality" of drinking and driving!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

@jcj: Again, irrelevant. These are hypotheticals, "what if" scenarios, *NOT* reality. You don't get into your car everyday and drive to work, hating yourself for taking a life, because "what if I hit someone accidentally". You don't go to a funeral home and lay in a casket "just incase" you die. All of this is a scrape on the knee, or a splinter in a thumb, not a gaping wound. Let's be rational grown ups and treat it as the scrape that it is.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

Amberle I does not matter how much good she has done. If she drinks and drives and takes someones life. How proud would you be of her then?


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

What anyone says does NOT change the fact that she is an amazing President, who has done much good for my University, and who is moving on from this ridiculousness, that the media has blown completley out of proportion, with pride and dignity. And I will always respect her greatly for that. She's still President and nothing can change that, no matter how degrading, rude, ignorant, mean, or flattering. I'm proud of her.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

"I could care less about her drinking as long as she doesn't hurt anyone." So what your saying is AFTER she hurts someone you will care. If she were staying home and drinking or was not driving herself after drinking I would not care.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Gee, Amberle, can you EVER forgive us? Ohhhhhh, that's right, according to you we finger-pointers don't deserve it. how very silly of me.

greg, too

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Odd that they have left out the fact that she is trying to gouge the unions into massive additions to their insurance, loss of raises, etc. while she mad a nice bonus and then goes out and yells at alums (drunk or sober). I could care less about her drinking as long as she doesn't hurt anyone. But her draconian negotiating is an issue that seems to be swept under the rug as we talk about her social life and drinking habits.

l j hankamp

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

Amberle; While I have no interest in what the Regents plan is regarding Pres. Martin, I am though disgusted, appalled and repulsed by her behavior. I am the parent of a son who sustained a significant TBI (continues with medical issues relative to this injury) while a freshman at GVSU when the car he was in was struck by a drunk drive on Lake Michigan Dr. That driver, also a GVSU student indicated he had no alcohol problem and only had 2-3 beers (level was about 2.1). He destroyed the lives of 4 young students and after conviction spent in excess of 2 years in prison. It is my concern that her continued (7 years; only 1-2 glasses of wine) refusal to accept that she has an issue with alcohol will lead to some other event that is catistrophic in nature and may impact innocent people. I understand that all of us can say "by the grace of God not I" but her history, actions, denial, etc. demonstrate a behavior that is unacceptable.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Amberle With all due respect YOUR President did the damage to herself not once but at least twice! Who knows how many times she talked officers into letting her go or taking her home. At the very least we can expect she has driven drunk on occasion when she did not get CAUGHT!

so much nonsense

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

@Paula Gardner- it is, in fact, the exchanges between the Regents, the president, and the alumni chapter president that lead me to believe this is not a story. The alumni chapter president (the alumnus who had the argument with the President) was never upset and didn't complain. If there is a story here, it is that the Regents overreacted and WHY they overacted. I believe that the Regents are using the alcohol issue to distract everyone from what their real agenda is. Unfortunately, continues to focus on the alcohol issue, which is the red herring.

Peg Porter

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Let's think back to the Regents behavior in the Fallon case. Many of the same individuals are still on the Board. In both cases, the current one involving Susan Martin, and the other involving John Fallon, the Board is pursuing its own agenda. John Fallon lost his job because the people who were supposed to report to him did not. It appears that one went directly to the Board. In Martin's case we have another informer. The Board of Regents, especially its leadership, needs close scrutiny. The Press may be the only vehicle capable of doing this.

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Part of the benefit of these "harder times" is that the public is acutely sensitive to the performance (which includes the image) of those who head public bodies and receive 6 figure plus compensation. I just don't know how regents determine that 1 particular person is the best candidate over all of the others who would apply for such a position, but I would think that anyone that had a recent drunk driving incident while they were in a position of authority at another university and attempted to flex that authority to their own benefit, when the incident occurred. If you read the article concerning the Grand Valley State incident, I think you get the flavor of the Penn State scandal and even U of M where the people at the top of the institutions will leverage the cost to the image of the University to bury and in effect excuse and ultimately tolerate behavior for which the non-elites in the institution would be terminated. I think we have to raise the issue of whom it was, that Susan Martin knew on the Board of Regents and what was their long term personal relationship, that caused them to advocate for her hiring over other applicants who did not have such an "issue". Yes, EMU is called a "not for profit educational institution" but in reality it is a service organization with a brand that has a significant economic effect on many people, and like JP Morgan Chase or any corporation it needs the highest level of accountability at the top of the organization and understanding that "no executive is too big to be fired." Chase Ingersoll


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Susan hit me up. Lets party.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

People would be shocked at how often police drive "important" people home in situations like this, and worse.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

This is the direct result of the EMU board's bungled public handling of something that should have been kept quiet. Don't publicly shame your university president. They are either the president, or they are fired. There can be no in-between. I can't blame the detnews for digging into this and for re-publishing - it is their job.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

Huron issue over, dead! President's house issue over and done! John Fallon issues over! Get it through your thick skulls that the Huron is not coming back - No! Not even a statue!! Waist of money!!! Susan Martin is a human being with flaws. Let her get the help she needs and move on!!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

Amazing how many are willing to give a "leader"in higher education a pass. But for being lucky she could have killed a biker,pedestrian or any other upstanding citizen.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

Is Bain Old News?

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

nobody is giving her a pass. The DUI was in 2005. Does it ever become old news in your mind?

Paula Gardner

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Thanks for all of the comments on this story. Some commenters who are dismissive of this also are commenters who I often either agree with or learn new perspective from, so I do value seeing your reaction to this story and others that are related to it. If you're reading this story and forming an opinion, but haven't read the original documents from EMU regents, Susan Martin, and the alumus at the other end of the argument, I encourage you to take a look. It'll give you perspective on what regents said to Martin, how she responded and then some description of the circumstance that led to the letter. Your opinion may not change, but I believe that what's transpiring between a state university's board of regents and president warrant that kind of attention as the public decides what's appropriate or not in the scenario. The letters, along with Martin's driving record, are posted on an EMU website: Here is a link that has access to the pdf of the emails between Martin and the alumnus:


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

Paula - They made a great decision in promoting you; however, I do feel Ann Arbor News does a good job of manipulating readers to pick sides; but that's what journalism is supposed to do.

Lac Court Orilles

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

So what if she locked her keys in her trunk when she was stopped by a police officer. Wouldn't the normal person be a little bit flustered during a situation like this? must be real hard up for news to publish crap like this. If this had been Mary Sue Colemen, nothing would have ever reached the media. Quit picking on Eastern Michigan University. Just stop it!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

Apparently AA.Com hasn't thrown enough mud on this, you now have to refer us to the Detroit News? It's probably in plain sight on this site, but I'm too lazy to look for it - Does AA.Com have a mission statement? Is it your goal to do your best to ruin people? Please explain what you're trying to accomplish here.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 6:24 a.m.

Guess I'll go against the consensus here and just note that bringing up her previous arrest shows that Ms Martin hasn't learned from her past "mistake." Evidently she has CHOSEN to play her dangerous game with alcohol. All of us face consequences for our actions, even Presidents of University's. She obviously has a drinking problem, and refuses to acknowledge it. Evidently, the bottle is more important to her than the University is. I don't have the facts to say that she should be fired or not. I'll only say if she continues drinking, the university will be looking at another incident involving Ms Martin in the future.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

She "has a problem" to all of those subscribing to the "addiction culture". Everyone is either an "addict" or an "enabler" to them.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 6:41 a.m.

I can't believe the number of people who see nothing wrong here and ask to move on. She has a problem. She's had one in the past and she still has it now. She needs to address this problem. I think the people who think she's done nothing wrong would also think a drunk driver, whos actions caused someone's death, should be let out on probation. "It was just an accident".


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

And...there's more you're not telling or you needed filler? Really, this isn't news worthy. Was there an altercation with the cop? Why did she not expect to be arrested-because she was at Grand Valley or because she didn't think she was drunk? Why/how did she lock her keys-before the police showed up to unlock the car and that's how they discovered she was drunk or in response to the police trying to arrest her? Exactly how much of this story do I need to write to make it worthy for the news?

Mike D.

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:17 a.m.

I heard she wore white shoes after Labor Day one time in the '70s.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

(Agreeing w/you...) Oh, my God! Write and tell Anna Wintour at Vogue! Now THAT'S news!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

The general consensus seems to be everyone is tired of reading about this because it has been in the news for two days now. Tonight I've been to,, cnn, fox, and a whole bunch of others All everyone at those sites has been talking about for the last 9 months is Joe Paterno. And he's been dead for 6 of those months. Now, I'm gonna go crack open another beer and surf some more. Hopefully another highly paid public employee will commit another arrogant indiscretion to give me a break from hitting the "repeat" button that keeps me switching back and forth between Martin and Paterno. God, i need a life but you people are too much fun.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:36 a.m.

Okay, this is the 7th article...enough, please. Isn't there any NEWS to report; copy & paste from Detroit News?

J. Ellen

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

Stop 'beating up' on It's the Detroit-based papers (freep and doing the research and submitting the FOIAs.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

Ann has no requirement to provide a link or C&P for every story. Ann chose to run it despite the origin.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

Leave her alone already! For crying out loud, whats the goal here???

J. Ellen

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

Alcohol is a truth serum. "I don't see how you taking me to jail is benefiting the university, you should just take me home," Martin, who was then a Grand Valley vice provost, told the arresting officer. "Martin also made comments alluding to the fact that she had to be at work in the morning 'to make sure that (my) paycheck gets cut.' It was apparent to me that Martin was not expecting me to take her to jail."


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

You people don't think UM dignitaries get "caught and released" here all the time?

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

At least they arrested her. In Oakland county a few years back the cops just gave L Brooks Patterson a ride home. In fact one cop drove his car so it would be in his driveway in the morning.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

So she used the infamous "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" routine on a cop and told him she had to write his paycheck the next day. A bully at that. All while being a drunk and showing disregard for lives while driving. Disgusting. Now we have an idea how she acted recently. Amazing how many people here condone this stuff and don't have a problem with it. Does someone need to get hurt or worse for that to change?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

So if we could project all of your life events on a big screen there would be no mistakes I'm sure of it. Right.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

OK, this is bordering on stalking now. Really, it's time to knock it off.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

I have to agree with the other posters. By going back 7 years to bring up relatively irrelevant to pile on top of a story that was overblown in the first place embarrasses and bores us. Obviously I don't condone driving while intoxicated, and her behavior was probably unprofessional while arguing with that alum, but does really think this is necessary? By the way, I also don't care if she may have had a few drinks while being a student in case you were going to research that, too.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

Makes me long for the days of four a day Camp Take Notice articles. y......a.......w.......n


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

This continued nonsense clearly indicates that someone wants her fired. There's something sleazy going on here....

Old Salt

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Enough is enough please . There must be other news that you can report on


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

I googled "drunk people that make more than $200,000 per year doing stupid things". I got 8,001 hits. Martin was last but the first 8,000 were either professional atheletes or actors. That being said, let the enablers enable.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

you need a better search engine I got 145,000 hits. the DUI was 7 years ago and fully disclosed at the time she took her current job. I fail to see the significance of her specific behavior that day. Especially in light of the number of separate articles that Ann has published mostly rehashing the same stuff with only minor additions in each. You may say "let the enablers enable", i might say "let the witch hunters burn her at the stake"


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

A slooooooooooooooooooow news day for the Detroit News, obviously. Glacial for the "news" aggregator, whose last true journalistic prose exists only in partial DNA now. When its ancestor's printing presses stopped, so did its reporting. I miss the days of true local reporting. I miss the stories researched and written by local journalists. I miss the intelligence and humanity associated with our former local paper. Sigh. Yawn. Best wishes to Susan Martin. I am glad you locked your keys in the trunk that day. Maybe it was your saving grace. May you experience continued grace in your future. May your detractors experience the same.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

She would have been better off having a sex addiction. I can think of one person who has had that problem and he is loved and admired by millions in spite of it.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

Only one? I can think of a few more.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

For crying out loud! Give it a rest At this point, it's "old" news and nobody really cares. Lets move on to something else....or do you have a "hidden agenda" and are TRYING to get the woman fired???


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

You can tell she is not a professional, locking her keys in the trunk! I just hate it when this type of drinker tries to drive!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

And if you look at the Detroit News Article, she blew a .13 I wonder why that wasn't the focus of the A2 News

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

evidently not many people appreciate your humor xmo.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

I know, I just hate it when a human being makes a mistake.....terrible.

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

yes, yes, she did what many of us probably worry might happen while digging through junk in the trunk...drop the keys she'd had in her hand after using it to unlock the thing, perhaps. Then failed to notice this, shut the trunk back up, and voila! she's "...locked keys in trunk". Whatever. This is just an excuse to revisit the details of that arrest, which, while I'm not saying we should condone, is old news and not really very interesting. Should she have gotten into the car knowing she was impaired enough that she felt the need to "drive slowly" (which was apparently why she was stopped)? No way. She was rightfully arrested for doing this. The EMU Regents knew of it and hired her anyway. Haven't we heard enough about this now? I think alcohol consumption is pretty nasty and overdone by so many in our society, but I'm not the one serving the stuff at EMU functions, so given that it's still out there for us all to partake in, aren't we being a bit over the top in admonishing her at this point?

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

I just Googled up "drunk people doing stupid things" and got 10.9 million hits.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

Craig, not to copy you, but reading this I thought ENOUGH ALREADY!

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

enough is enough for crying out loud. it was 7 years ago.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Craig: The media is in a quandry over this. If they did not report it, there will be those accusing the media of giving high level officials a break while punishing regular folks for the same offense. So they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

That is the way for Easy target and a lazy news day