Sexual-misconduct response coordinator position becomes full-time

BY KATIE SIMS | JULY 01, 2009 7:21 AM

College freshmen and sophomores are at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. And now Monique DiCarlo, the UI sexual-misconduct response coordinator, will work full-time trying to prevent the assaults.

DiCarlo stepped down as the director of the Women’s Resource and Action Center on Monday to focus on the job. She formerly headed both organizations, working part-time as the interim sexual-misconduct response coordinator.

Along with Tom Rocklin, the interim vice president for Student Services, DiCarlo will now handle cases of sexual misconduct instigated by and directed at students.

Linda Kroon will serve as interim WRAC director.

“I can tell you from having watched [DiCarlo] do it on an interim basis and working at WRAC that it needed to be a full-time position,” Kroon said. “There is a lot of work to be done.”

The UI has faced its share of negative publicity for such issues. Notably, former Hawkeye football players Abe Satterfield and Cedric Everson have yet to stand trial on charges of sexual assault stemming from an alleged incident in Hillcrest. The university’s initial response was deemed inadequate and an investigation resulted in two top administrators’ firings.

As the full-time coordinator for sexual-misconduct response, DiCarlo’s responsibilities include myriad aspects of reporting and responding to such issues as stalking and domestic violence involving students. She is also a contact point for victims ensuring they receive appropriate and responsive care.

“When I learn of an allegation of sexual misconduct, I want to make sure the university has had a prompt response to that allegation,” she said.

DiCarlo wants to make sure offenders are held accountable. This could include getting the offender counseling so the behavior isn’t repeated or implementing consequences for the behavior.

“We want to create a campus climate that deters the use of violence and sends a message that it’s not acceptable,” DiCarlo said.

The UI has adopted some measures to address the issue. In order to register for spring semester courses, incoming UI freshmen are required to score at least 80 percent on a sexual-misconduct test. Resident assistants are also required to be trained in the school’s sexual-misconduct policy and how to respond to incidents.

DiCarlo said she wants to give potential victims the opportunity to work with advocates and learn their options for reporting those cases.

The Rape Victim Advocacy Program in Iowa City provides confidential victim advocates that are experts at providing safety and support during the victim’s reporting process.

“Monique has an advocacy background,” said Karla Miller, the RVAP executive director. “Her abilities to understand the issues are superior, and she’s a good resource for people to call if they have questions.”

Miller said DiCarlo’s new appointment is a positive step in responding to cases that happen on campus.

Kroon said WRAC is preparing to search for DiCarlo’s replacement. Officials at the facility hope to have a new director in approximately a year.

>> Next story: UI Children's Hospital

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