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Students Protest Univ. of Iowa Response To Alleged Sexual Assaults

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IOWA CITY, Iowa University of Iowa students are upset over administration response to a series of recent alleged sexual assaults on and around campus. Dozens of students protested and called for change to University policies on the Pentacrest Monday afternoon.

Since the start of the academic school year the University has issued eight "timely warning" notifications about reported sexual assaults. An additional message was also sent out for an alleged assault on a woman that did not involve sexual contact.

Protest leaders say recent comments by University of Iowa President Sally Mason in the student newspaper, the Daily Iowan, sparked the movement.

"The movement is a reaction to the problematic "timely warning" emails and the culture of rape that is perpetuated on campus. Mason stated in the Daily Iowan interview that rape was part of "human nature" and that fully preventing this violent crime is "not a reasonable goal." Mason's comments show how pervasive the culture of rape is at the University of Iowa, and reveals the University's reactive stance toward sexual assault," the group outlined on their website.

UI communications officials distributed copies of a statement from Mason at the protest.

"Sexual assault is a terrible crime, one for which there is no excuse. The UI will take all the actions in our power to prevent rapes, to support victims and to prosecute offenders," the statement said. "Even one sexual assault in our community is too many and we must confront this together as a community. I am committed to do everything in my power to end this terrible crime on our campus."

Protesters are calling for a public apology from Mason. They are also asking for a zero-tolerance policy to be implemented as well as reform to the "timely warming" emails.

Activists planned to meet with Vice President of Student Life, Tom Rocklin, Monday afternoon. Officials said Mason was out of town on previously scheduled business.

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