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Funding for sexual assault initiatives take action

BY GRACE PATERAS | OCTOBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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In conjunction with the report of a seventh sexual assault this academic year, University of Iowa President Sally Mason released another initiative in line with her six-point plan to improve the handling of sexual assaults on campus.

In accordance with the already existing plan, an additional funding aid will be given to three prevention and counseling services on campus, including the Women’s Resource and Action Center, as well as the Men’s Antiviolence Council, a group sponsored by WRAC. The Rape Victim Advocacy Program will also receive funding.

“[Funding will] provide additional resources to combat sexual misconduct on campus,” UI spokesman Tom Moore said. “It’s clear evidence of President Mason’s commitment of change on our campus.”

The Office of Sexual Misconduct suggested the increase in funding and created an antiviolence coalition with suggestions on how the campus should handle misconduct.

Mason and her office members took action following these suggestions.

“Clearly, we are following their recommendations,” Moore said. “[Mason and her office are] following what the subcommittee feels will be effective in changing the climate on our campus, regarding sexual misconduct.”

Moore said the new program should benefit the campus.

The money from the additional funds will go toward full-time positions in these organizations.

At WRAC, a current part-time position will become a full-time position, in addition to another full-time job created at the facility.

RVAP officials also intend to create a new position to better serve UI students.

RVAP Executive Director Jen Carlson said the program’s current staffer that helps UI students is also committed to helping others in the Iowa City area.

By creating a specialist in the RVAP program, more focus will be given to UI students.

“There will be an increase in capacity of programs, materials and events that we can produce on campus,” Carlson said. “And [the specialist will have] time, flexibility and creativity to meet students needs instead of being restricted from strains.”

The funding plans will be implemented at RVAP as early as on Nov. 1, when the position is estimated to be filled.

Officials with WRAC said they are unsure of when the positions for WRAC and the Men’s Antiviolence Council will be filled. However, the program has plans for how the funding will be implemented.

“We’re going to be expanding the activity of [the Men’s Antiviolence Council],” WRAC Director Linda Stewart Kroon said. “Also, we’ll be increasing training through the student peer leading program, which will extend more student leading.”

The President’s Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct was created last year as part of the six-point plan. Kira Pasquesi, who is vice-president of the committee, said she trusts the expertise that will come with the new hirings.

“The funding is focused on reducing sexual assault through prevention education for students to better understand the issue of sexual assault and how they can prevent it,” she said. "To me, this funding communicates that our campus supports survivors, and sexual assault is unacceptable at UI."


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