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Faculty members deliberate sexual misconduct and the Council for Teaching

BY RACHEL GREEN | OCTOBER 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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With a continued increase of sexual misconducts reported, University of Iowa faculty members hope to aid students.

Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin spoke to the Faculty Senate on Tuesday about how to help victims of sexual misconduct.

“The first thing I think faculty members should be prepared to do is to believe somebody when they tell you that they have been sexually assaulted,” Rocklin said. “It is not our job to figure out if they were assaulted or not. What that student needs right then is support.”

He also said knowing the sexual assaults are on students’ minds is an important factor and can be used to spawn discussions.

“Faculty members can acknowledge this is an issue on our campus, and discuss this issue with their students,” he said.

Faculty Senate President Alexandra Thomas said she agreed with Rocklin’s ideas for faculty involvement.

“He encouraged faculty to be educated on this topic, to listen to students when they come to us, and to become active on the Antiviolence Coalition,” she said.

Rocklin elaborated on the different types of complaints students could file in regards to sexual misconducts.

He said students have a right to not file a complaint, but if they choose to, they can file either an administrative complaint or a criminal complaint.

“We encourage victims to file a criminal complaint, but it is not required,” Rocklin said.

The Senate also debated a proposed change to the Council for Teaching, which the members approved.

This change would add an extra member to the number of faculty members on the council, bringing the number of members to 15 instead of 14.

The current Council on Teaching includes eight members appointed by the Faculty Senate; the proposed change would increase this number to nine.

The new set of council members would also need to include one lecturer.

“We think it’s important because lecturers are so vital to teaching, and some of the roles that their particular committee does are so important to teaching and providing vibrant, high quality education on our campus, like lecturers are,” Thomas said. “It also acknowledges the role of lecturers really well.”

Shelly Campo, the head of the Council on Teaching, said it was surprising a lecturer had not been required to be on the council before.

“Having a lecturer on the council seems like a strange afterthought when we have faculty members, staff, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students already on it,” she said.


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