July 31, 2014

Regents president critical of U-I’s handling of sexual harassment

The leader of the Board of Regents today criticized the University of Iowa over the sexual harassment charges surrounding a former academic advisor. The university investigation found former associate director of athletic student services, Peter Gray, engaged in inappropriate behavior with students that ranged from making sexual comments to trading athletic event tickets for sexual favors.

During his regular remarks to the board, Regents president Craig Lang said the three state-supported schools had undergone an extensive investigation following a sexual assault at the U-I in 2008 and that led to a major overhaul of their sexual misconduct policies and procedures.

“One critical element of the board approved policies is the requirement for all employees to participate in sexual misconduct training. Clearly, the latest incident at the University of Iowa suggests the University of Iowa is not doing a good enough job in this area,” Lang said. He called on the school to remedy the situation.

“It is my expectation that the university continue to address the obvious breakdowns in the process and to develop and implement new procedures as soon as possible to ensure the full implementation of board policies and to fully protect our students and faculty,” Lang said. The university’s investigation into the situation is ongoing.

“The board is anxious for answers. We will look forward to the findings from the university’s internal audit team that has been charged with closely examining the process related to the U of I student athlete advising services and compliance,” Lang said. He said he hopes the audit will move as fast as it can to provide answers. Gray resigned his position after the allegations surfaced.

U-I president, Sally Mason, released a statement earlier apologizing for what happened and announced changes in the university’s procedures and instituted the review. Gray’s former supervisor was demoted and reassigned within the athletic department.

In action today, the board voted unanimously without discussion to approve the proposal to not raise tuition for in-state students in the next school year. The board may have to revisit the issue if the funding provided by the legislature is short of what they are requesting.

The board also approved the demolition of 70-percent of the Price Lab School on the University of Northern Iowa campus that was closed in June. Officials say there is too much deferred maintenance to be done on the building to use it for any other purpose.