UI notes sexual-assault progress

BY JORDYN REILAND | MAY 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa President Sally Mason said there has been progress made on the six-point plan to combat sexual assault, and there will be more to look for come the fall semester.

“We’ve made progress on very point, in those six points,” she told The Daily Iowan on Wednesday. “I was very pleased at how responsive every office and every group on campus has been. We’ve got a lot of work to do, plenty more work to do.”

The six-point plan includes cracking down on offenders, increasing support for survivors, improving prevention and education, improving communication, additional funding, and listening more and reporting back.

According to the Office of the President’s website as of March 4, one male student was expelled during the spring semester who was considered a repeat offender, a new Nite Ride van was purchased and is in operation, and the language for the timely warning notifications have been revised to include a “trigger warning” to alert survivors, as well as stronger language about potential consequences for people who commit such offenses.

UI Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin said there are a couple of things involved in the plan that will require some coordination with other committees to expand education efforts, and the opportunities to be able to identify effect sanctions. These plans will likely be implemented this coming fall semester.

“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far, and I believe we’ll make even more progress this summer,” he said.

Rocklin said officials are also looking into additional long-term support for survivors of sexual assault.

And the President’s Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct was created as a part of Mason’s six-point plan to combat sexual assault on the UI campus. This group will serve as a bridge between students and university officials.

Committee Chairman Grant Laverty said at this point, the committee is in the planning stages, and there are many ideas being discussed. Laverty said he will travel to Atlanta with some of the UI’s administration for a training seminar put on by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“[This committee] is important for me specifically because it’s going to be a really good way to get student voices involved and connect them to administration,” he said.

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

“I think the students are now beginning to realize what I told them at the onset, that the hard part of this work is we get to start over again every year with a new group of students who come in, and they’re not aware — in fact in need of education on these particular issues, and we need to be certain that we get the right kinds of education to them, and they become partners with us going forward as well,” Mason said.

“So that’s going to be one of our big challenges, and I think as I’ve talked to Grant, and other members of the student task force, they’re ready to help us, and I think we can make some progress.”

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