Regents to Hold Special Meeting on Univ. of Iowa President's Comments on Sexual Assault

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa Board of Regents have called a special meeting Friday to "receive an explanation" from University of Iowa President Sally Mason regarding her remarks on sexual assault.

The meeting, which will be live streamed on the Board of Regents' website, will be followed by a closed session of the board.

The meeting comes after a week of student protests and debate over the university's handling of sexual assaults on campus and an apology from Mason for what she told the student newspaper on the subject.

"Several members of our campus community have let me know that my remarks on sexual assault printed last week in The Daily Iowan were hurtful," Mason said during her public apology Tuesday. "I did not intend them to be, and I am sorry for the pain my words caused."

One group of UI student protestors created a website late Sunday – notinmynature.com – inspired by Mason's comments to the student newspaper that ending sexual assault on campus is "probably not a realistic goal, just given human nature."

The website made several demands of Mason and the university, including that she apologizes for her comments and adopts a "zero tolerance" attitude and policy regarding sexual violence.

"I do want to make my position clear," Mason said Tuesday. "I believe there is no excuse for sexual assault. I have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. I know that sexual assault is never the fault of the survivor."

UI police have issued eight "timely warnings" this academic year related to reports of sexual assault on or near campus. That is up over last year, partly because there are more reports, the UI is issuing them for more than just stranger sexual assaults and various UI departments are communicating better, UI officials said.

Some students have been upset with the wording in the warnings, saying they place blame on victims by highlighting risk factors – like consuming alcohol or drugs. Revising the content of those emails also is among the student demands.

Mason this afternoon is holding a "listening session" on the topic in the second-floor ballroom at the Iowa Memorial Union.
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