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'Sexual misconduct' leads to expulsion

BY STACEY MURRAY | APRIL 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa officials expelled its first student for sexual misconduct following recent calls for a zero-tolerance policy.

The male student was a repeat offender, forcibly fondling one student before committing the same act, along with forced sodomy, on another in an unrelated assault, said UI Vice President of Student Life Tom Rocklin.

Rocklin said the expulsion was a result of UI President Sally Mason’s six-point plan, a proposal she developed following protests on the UI campus regarding sexual assault on campus.

But Rocklin no set protocol has been created to automatically expel students if they have committed sexual misconduct.

“Every case will be evaluated on the total pattern of facts,” Rocklin said.

UI Dean of Students David Grady had said at a listening post in March he could not recall a time when the university had expelled students for sexual misconduct. He noted that of the 22 suspensions at the university issued last year, 12 were for sexual misconduct.

Karla Miller, the executive director of Rape Victim Advocacy Propgram, said the university has a legal obligation through Title IX and the Clery Act to not only protect victims and provide them with adequate services but also must keep other students on campus safe.

“When people commit sexual misconduct, they’ve altered their own lives, and they’ve certainly altered their victims’ lives,” she said. “You want to make sure that person doesn’t harm any further individuals.”

But Miller said the wording surrounding the expulsion could be misleading surrounding the expulsion.

“I think when people hear ‘sexual misconduct,’ it’s a softer term than sexual assault or rape,” she said. “But that’s what we’re talking about.”

Miller said most perpetrators are repeat offenders, mirroring the UI’s expulsion.

According to the Eastern Mexico University, rape has one of the highest repeat rates of all criminals, with more than 70 percent of those arrested being rearrested within seven years.

“I think it’s kind of an interesting thing because [they] get kicked out school for plagiarism, or drugs, but the only other crime that is more serious than sexual assault is murder,” she said. “But when you hear it in the academic setting, people don’t really see this as, ‘This person is a rapist’ or someone who is sexually aggressive.”

Miller agreed with Rocklin that situations should be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Eleven sexual assaults have been reported in the 2013-2014 academic year.


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