The board that governs the three state universities will discuss creating a campus safety and security subcommittee at its meeting next week in Ames. Board of Regents spokesperson Sheila Doyle Koppin says she’s not sure who put forward the idea for the committee, but says it is related in part to a national campaign.
“It’s in response to Obama’s ‘It’s on Use Campaign’ to bring greater awareness to the issue of sexual assault on the campuses and to help bring an end to campus sexual assault,” Koppin says. She says efforts to end sexual assault on campus isn’t something unique to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. “It’s also among the top ten policy issues facing higher education boards across the country,” Koppin says.
Agenda information from the regents says the purpose of the proposed subcommittee is to “first monitor and review campus safety and security reports, and second to monitor and review campus safety and security issues as they arise and as necessary.” “Of course we have a very robust effort with respect to campus safety and security on our campuses, it’s the board’s number one priority,” Koppin says. “But, this would provide and additional layer of oversight to ensure our compliance with current and national guidelines.”
The board information says the subcommittee would meet at least twice a year. The three universities released their crime reports in March, and they showed an increase of sexual assaults from four to 14 at the University of Iowa, a drop from 13 to 12 at Iowa State University, and an increase from two to three at the University of Northern Iowa.
The interim director of the U-I Department of Public Safety, Dave Visin, said at the time that the increase in sexual assaults could likely be attributed to an increased awareness on campus of the resources available for sexual assault survivors through President Sally Mason’s six-point plan. Visin says U-I police did not see any trends to indicate campus is more dangerous than in the past.