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Student who was in TA's class who emailed nude pictures speaks out

BY LAUREN COFFEY AND BRENT GRIFFITHS | OCTOBER 25, 2013 5:00 AM

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On the heels of a University of Iowa teaching assistant emailing inappropriate photos to roughly 80 students, some people with ties to the UI are sounding off about the incident and the larger issue of  “sexting.”

“A lot of people don’t realize technology is a two-edged sword,” said Lyombo Eko, UI associate professor of Media Law. “It can do good but it can also do bad. Technology is neutral, and the law treats it as neutral…the law cannot protect us from ourselves.”

A day after the incident, Eko lectured his Media Law class on the ethics of spreading, which he said he “moved up slightly” to correspond with the TA incident.

Under Iowa law, spreading of inappropriate, or lewd, photos is illegal if one of the involved parties is a minor.

In the case of the TA, who is not a minor and was not involved with any minors in the distributing of the photos, Eko said it comes down to an ethical issue.

“As an adult, you can’t have the mixing of official business and private business, that’s where the ethics come in,” he said. “That’s why we have uiowa accounts [the email account that was used in the email sent to students], as professors we are required to use it for security reasons. Unfortunately, some people don’t separate [the two].”

The teaching assistant, employed by the UI Math Department, is no longer employed to teach a class of students. While she will remain a TA, she will perform non-teaching duties, according to UI Spokesperson Tom Moore.

One student who received the email said he does not think the TA should return to teach the class.

“Maybe she shouldn’t be a TA anymore, regardless of the class,” freshman Cole Klever said. “That would be very hard to get over what happened. I would never look at her the same. That should never happen.”

Klever continued to say the incident has affected his learning environment, specifically when the math lecture was interrupted by a misconduct officer.

“Since this happened, I’m getting asked about seeing pictures and it’s kind of getting hard to study,” he said. “It affected my studies in other classes.”


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