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UI president tells open forum she also fell victim to assault

With an apology and a confession of her own, the president of the University of Iowa faced the students angered and concerned over comments she made about sexual assault. The campus community is trying to move past that controversy.

200 people filled the Iowa Memorial Union ballroom, Thursday, February 27, 2014. All there to share their stories of sexual assault, but more importantly to listen. Some were friends of victims, others there were victims themselves.

“Last week one of the assaults that happened was on my path home from work and I am terrified to walk home now,” said a student at the forum.

The University of Iowa president, Sally Mason is under fire for a comment she made addressing the eight recent sexual assaults near or on campus this year.

She apologized, then surprised everyone with her own story of once being a victim. She told a story of when she was groped by a strange man when she was in college.

“I felt it was necessary to start the conversation  so people in the room knew it was a safe place to do that,” said Mason.

Then she asked for suggestions, ideas to make the campus a safe place to be.

“The goal is never to have a student hurt or harmed,” said Mason.

Some ideas suggested were keeping the victim’s identity a secret, education and a zero tolerance policy.

“If we have zero tolerance on plagiarism and we don’t have zero tolerance on something like sexual assault, we’re missing the boat,” said Mason.

Now all are hoping for some action.

The Iowa Board of Regents has called a special meeting for Friday, to address the comments.

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