University of Iowa President Sally Mason says the safety of all members of the university community is fundamental to academic pursuits. Mason spoke at a women’s safety forum in Iowa City Wednesday evening, focusing on the increased reports of sexual assaults around the U-of-I campus.
Mason says: "This is a situation that we simply can’t tolerate. Although these assaults are not occurring directly on our campus, we as a university must clearly be part of the solution." After Mason’s comments, campus organizations provided information on self-defense, dating violence and the U-of-I rape victim advocacy program.
Mason says a federal initiative announced this week is timely, as the Regents universities will share nearly one-million dollars to implement educational activities to prevent violence against women. Mason says, "Among the initiatives will be a mandatory new student education program, enhanced training for our campus police, a statewide men’s gender violence prevention institute, and other new courses and curricula that will better educate students and faculty on victim services and gender violence prevention."
Iowa City police have received nearly 30 sexual assault reports in or near the downtown area in the last year. This week, police released a composite sketch of a man they say assaulted a woman last Sunday near downtown.