Iowa needs to improve sexual misconduct case response, Regents president says

Lang cites 'obvious breakdowns' in process

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April 1, 2014 | 3:02 am

The University of Iowa's handling of reported sexual harassment by former Athletics Department adviser Peter Gray suggests the university is not doing a good enough job in that area, state Board of Regents President Craig Lang said Wednesday.

The board "is anxious for answers" from university officials about the incident, Lang said during a telephonic meeting of the regents.

"It is my expectation that the university continue to address the obvious breakdowns in the process and ... develop and implement new procedures as soon as possible to improve the full implementation of board policies to fully protect our students and faculty," Lang said.

Gray was the associate director of athletic student services who resigned Nov. 5, after the university investigated sexual harassment complaints against him. Gray worked for the department from 1993 to 1995 and was rehired in 2002.

UI President Sally Mason has said the university will audit hiring practices and review student advising, among other steps. Athletics Director Gary Barta also reorganized the compliance and student services units in his department, partly due to the incident.

What seemed to have happened in this case, Lang said, was a failure to implement the policies already in place.

The regents approved an overhaul of university policies regarding sexual misconduct in 2008, after a sexual assault at the UI involving student athletes. One critical element of those board-approved policies is sexual misconduct training for all employees, but clearly the latest incident suggests the UI needs to do a better job in that area, Lang said.

A full report about the incident from Mason should make clear if more policies are needed or whether the policies already in place were not fulfilled, Lang said.

"I don't think any of the regents want to wait until February to see the results of that report," Lang said, referring to the board's next meeting.

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