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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | FEBRUARY 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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UI community discuss problems and solutions

Sexual assault is a violent and inexcusable crime that victimizes both women and men. Even one on our campus is too many. Over the last week, there has been much attention given to the ongoing discussions about uptick in reporting of this terrible crime at the University of Iowa.

President Sally Mason may have spoken unartfully last week. She has since both clarified her statements and apologized. Let’s move forward.

We believe the university has made progress in recent years, particularly in the area of survivor support. The Rape Victim Advocacy Program  provides 24/7 support and counseling, and a network of resources have been deployed to assist survivors and provide dignity amid unspeakable trauma.

These support systems seem to be working. More survivors are coming forward, which helps explain the number of warning emails sent to students this year. This is a sign of progress and a testament to the good work of RVAP and others.

The university is also taking steps on violence prevention. All students, faculty, and staff are required to take and pass an online class, and the university hired a sexual-misconduct-response coordinator and reworked its discipline policies well before it was required by law. But we can do more: Additional staff are needed to coordinate violence-prevention efforts.

It’s going to take a whole-community approach to make progress on this issue.

The UI has done exemplary work, which is as of yet insufficient to fully address the bane of sexual assault on campus. These aren’t contradictory sentiments: the university, and Mason, should be applauded for the work that’s been done and supported in their efforts to make further improvements.

This is going to take all of us, so the sooner we unite as a community around this issue, the better.

Katherine Valde, UI Student Government president
Randy Nessler, Staff Council president
Erika Lawrence, Faculty Senate president
Ben Gillig, Executive Council of Graduate & Professional Students president


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