Wednesday, May 30, 2012

UNI must revamp sexual assault policies, procedures

The University of Northern Iowa recently underwent an audit (seemingly in response to a 2004 case of alleged sexual assault of a female student by two male student-athletes that was improperly handled) of its sexual assault policies and procedures. And the results were not good.
According to this article, students who need to report an incident receive conflicting information and feel unsafe and uncertain about the prospect of reporting anything other than an assault by a stranger (which is a small percentage of assault cases).
Part of the problem is the lack of information in UNI's website, no police officer designated and trained to handle sexual assault cases (or at least no one is named in a way that students could find him or her), the hesitation to report to police (versus a campus group or judicial board or component of student/residential life) and some questions over the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the university's Title IX coordinator as well as certain impediments to her being able to do her job effectively. Also, apparently, there is a really bad, mandatory video on sexual assault that the students who were surveyed found outdated and unhelpful.
There appears to be lack of training campus-wide on these issues, especially in the athletic department.