The University of Iowa has issued a warning to the campus community about two unrelated reports of sexual misconduct in the residence halls.
UI police officials issued the warning Thursday evening after receiving information about reported incidents that occurred on March 28 and Jan. 15. Regarding the more recent incident, a male student reported being sexually assaulted by an acquaintance after they met at an office-campus party and returned to a residence hall on campus, according to the UI warning.
UI officials this week also reported receiving information from a female student who said she was the victim of non-consensual sexual contact by an acquaintance on Jan. 15. That incident reportedly occurred in a residence hall on campus as well, according to the warning.
The UI this academic year has issued more warnings related to sexual violence than in previous years for several reasons, including an increase in reports, improved communication between UI departments and because the university is issuing them now for more than just stranger sexual assaults.
Earlier this year, the increase in warnings – and UI President Sally Mason’s controversial comments around them – prompted students to protest and make several demands of the UI administration. One of those demands involved changing the language in the campus warnings to prevent victim blaming.
UI officials have made those changes, as evidenced by this week’s warning, which begins by offering information on victim resources. The warning also states that it is a violation of university policy to engage in sexual activities without consent, and violators could be expelled.
“The only person responsible for sexual misconduct is the perpetrator,” according to the warning. “Someone incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs cannot consent to sexual activity.”
According to UI officials, 20 percent of women and six percent of men nationally are the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their college years. Nearly 50 percent of transgender individuals experience sexual violence, according to the UI warning.
UI officials, in the warning, provide tips to avoid victimization – including trusting your instincts and trying to interrupt the chain of events.The UI also “strongly” encourages victims to seek medical attention – even if there are no obvious injuries – because it allows evidence to be collected and preserved in the case of a criminal investigation.