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Abuse panel gets underway

BY STACEY MURRAY | APRIL 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa President’s Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct held its initial meeting with UI President Sally Mason and other UI officials on Monday.

Fourteen students were selected from a 175-person applicant pool to serve one- or two-year terms on the committee.

The group elected UI undergraduate student Grant Laverty as the chairman and graduate student Kira Pasquesi as the vice chairwoman.

The committee was created as a part of Masons’ six-point plan to combat sexual assault on the UI campus. The plan includes cracking down on offenders, increasing support for survivors, improving prevention and education, improving communication, adding funding, and listening more and reporting back.

This year, there have been 12 reported sexual assaults on the UI campus. Thus far, Mason has added funding to provide an additional Nite Ride van, expelled one student for sexual misconduct, revised timely warning notices sent to students on campus, and created the committee.

“I think everyone’s looking forward to the work of the committee in the near term and in the long term,” said UI Dean of Students David Grady.

UI freshman Josh Abdo applied for the committee because he felt he could adequately represent students on campus. Abdo is involved with Residence Life at the UI and the Campus Activities Board.

He said the initial meeting was “pretty straightforward.” The committee did not set a firm schedule for the rest of its meetings, but Abdo said he believes it will meet monthly beginning in the fall.

The committee will speak to students in their various areas of involvement to hear reactions to the issues and policies.

“We’re going to be the eyes and ears of the campus,” Abdo said.

Pasquesi was appointed from the Executive Council of Graduate Professional Students and will serve a two-year term on the committee.

“Our main purpose is to advise the president in relation to prevention and response,” Pasquesi said.  “President Mason wants us to solicit and monitor progress of the six-point plan and have a voice in what happens with decision making moving forward.”

She said feels a sense of commitment to the campus, because she received her undergraduate education at the UI. She said she feels an “invested commitment” to provide all students with a safe campus environment.

Pasquesi said she believes the committee will meet one more time before the end of the school year.


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