niversity of Iowa officials say they’ll review the handling of a sexual harassment investigation of former UI Athletics Department official Peter Gray. Regents, too, have pledged to “follow up.”
But it will take more than promises and good intentions to restore trust in the UI, given the storm of sexual misconduct scandals that have swept through the school in recent years.
What was done about apparent reports about sexual harassment violations during Gray’s first stint at the UI? Why on earth was he rehired? These are just the first of many questions that demand thorough and public answers.
According to an internal document leaked to local media, a UI investigation found that Gray, Associate Director of Athletic Student Services, engaged in a whole host of inappropriate behaviors — from making sexual comments to touching students to storing inapppropriate photos on his work computer to trading athletic event tickets for sexual favors.
As shocking as the Gray case is, it’s more shocking still the frequency with which the UI is accused of being slow to react to allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. A few examples:
Earlier this year, the UI agreed to a $130,000 settlement with a former UI student who says then-political science professor Arthur Miller pressured her into letting him fondle her in exchange for an A+ in the course in 2008. Miller was criminally charged with bribery but took his own life before those charges were resolved.
In her lawsuit, the woman accused the school of not acting quickly enough to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Miller after she reported the crime. That echoes claims made by a former UI teaching assistant who filed a lawsuit against the UI and former music professor Mark Weiger in that same year.
In that suit, that student said she talked for two years prior with several faculty members about Weiger’s crude sexual humor and inappropriate sexual remarks, but the school showed “deliberate indifference” to the hostile environment he created.
When she finally filed a formal complaint in 2007, the UI did investigate and found that Weiger had engaged in sexual harassment. according to the suit.
Then there was the 2007 handling of sexual assault allegations involving two UI football players — an infamously botched job that led to a housecleaning and the firings of then-university general counsel Marc Mills and then-dean of students Phil Jones. That time, too, we were promised a thorough accounting of what went wrong.
We were offered new policies and procedures. We were told things would be different going forward.
So why are we here, again?
Comments: (319) 339-3154; email@example.com