University of Iowa President Sally Mason presented a six point plan to address the issue of sexual assaults on campus and the comments she made earlier this week to the Daily Iowan.
On Thursday, February 27 Mason faced 200 University of Iowa students at an open forum aimed at generating ideas to make the campus a safer place. At the forum, she also revealed she too had been a victim of assault when she was in college.
When asked about preventing sexual assault earlier, Mason stated that it might not be a realistic goal, given human nature. It was decided at an emergency meeting with the Iowa Board of Regents Friday, February 28, 2014 that Mason will not face any disciplinary action from the comments.
Mason tried to clarify her comments at the meeting, saying that what she meant is that sexual assault and crime are issues they deal with everyday and that the issues are difficult and complex. She stressed that there is no excuse for sexual crime, she has no tolerance for it, and it is never the victim’s fault.
Mason went on to present a six point plan to address sexual assaults on campus.
- A crackdown on offenders. The university has suspended past offenders, but she wants to move towards explusion as a punishment to show a zero-tolerance policy at the university.
- Expansion of support services. Mason said her goal is to make sure survivors of sexual assault have the support they need available, both in the short and long-term.
- Prevention and education. Mason wants more training for staff members. She also wants to continue safety walks with students, so they can point out areas around campus that need new lights or other safety equipment. She also wants to add another van to the “Night Ride” fleet to offer safe rides home for students.
- Communication. Responding to concerns about lack of information on the university website, Mason asked for more to be added and made available.
- New funding. Mason says she will pursue every available resource to provide financial backing for this plan.
- Listening and reporting. Mason says she will reach out more often to students in the campus community to get feedback on how the university’s doing to respond to this issue.