Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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We need better data on assaults

As your story “Looking Beyond Assault Numbers” (DI, March 4) suggests, it’s very difficult to figure out what the number of assaults reported to and by the university means. An increase in the number of reports could mean that people are more willing to report than they have in in the past. An increase could mean an increase in the number of assaults. We don’t know, in part because it’s inherently difficult to measure these things.

If readers of The Daily Iowan are seeking more data, they can go to the website of the Council on the Status of Women, where they will find surveys conducted by volunteers from the council, with some support from the university, in 1993, 2004 and 2012. These surveys attempted to assess campus climate with respect to sexual misconduct of all kinds — from rape to harassment. There is a wealth of data in them.

While the council’s surveys have limitations, and are not definitive, they give some insight into what students (as well as faculty and staff in earlier years) say about their experiences and some insight in the range and dimensions of the problems we face.

One of the recommendations of the most recent survey, from 2012, reads as follows: “The university needs to own and undertake regular public assessment of the climate and culture with respect to misconduct and unwelcome pressure.”

Personally, I hope that, as it moves forward, the university will commit itself to active, vigorous data collection so that we can understand where we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we need to do. I think regular, publicly distributed assessments that go beyond Clery reporting and other passive methods are a must.

Patrick Dolan Jr.

Remove perps from UI

May I suggest a method to possibly reduce the number of assaults in the Iowa City area:
In the real world, men (or women) who rape or abuse can be tried in a court of law and made to pay the penalty by spending time in jail.

Here is a novel idea — how about, if a perpetrator is convicted of the crime of rape or assault, he (or she) is immediately removed from the university? Eviction would be mandatory, because no one should be convicted if not enough evidence is presented.

That might be a way to get someone’s attention, finally.

Mari Struxness

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