The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee is demanding new policies to deal with sexual assaults on the campuses of Iowa’s public universities. A consultant’s report released this week called the University of Iowa’s investigation into a female athlete’s sexual assault flawed and inadequate. Senator Mike Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque, has read the consultant’s report.
"Maybe there wasn’t a cover up, but there certainly were terrible lapses in carrying through," Connolly said Friday during an Oversight Committee hearing. According to another lawmaker, the incident has tarnished the university’s reputation. Legislators like Representative Vicki Lensing, a Democrat from Iowa City, are asking the Board of Regents to draft new policies for handling sexual assault investigations.
"It was certainly disappointing to hear of individuals and processes that do not work, did not work and certainly your work is cut out for you to make sure that going forward this doesn’t happen again," Lensing told two members of the Board of Regents who attended Friday’s legislative committee hearing. Lensing said there was a need for a "clear, understandable policy in place so that students know where to go and what to do — as well as staff."
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, questioned the cost of the the investigation. A St. Louis law firm was paid $250,000 to review the records and interview people about the case, then issue a report. "I haven’t counted the pages and divided, but I heard it’s $1500 a page which is a lot of money in the times we’re living in right now," Baudler said. Bonnie Campbell, a member of the Board of Regents, says the board felt an outside investigation was necessary after university officials admitted they hadn’t forwarded some documents about the case to the regents.
"The people of Iowa care deeply about our state institutions and there were huge questions of integrity and competence being raised," Campbell told legislators. "I honestly believed no one would trust even the Board of Regents to fully investigate and reveal the facts." According to Campbell, university officials have been asked to find a way to pay for the legal fees without using taxpayer dollars.