U of I gets tough on sexual assault, expels 2nd student

Sally Mason

"There is no excuse for this crime," the U of I president said. "It has no place on this campus."

IOWA CITY (AP) — A second student has been expelled from the University of Iowa for committing a sexual assault, and school officials warned all students Thursday that harsh consequences will follow similar offenses.

Under new guidelines released Thursday, the university said that nonconsensual sexual intercourse will typically be punished by a multi-semester suspension or expulsion. Punishment for other offenses, such as nonconsensual sexual touching, will range from probation to expulsion, depending on the specific details, the guidelines state.

The moves are part of a crackdown on sexual assault by U of I President Sally Mason, who has taken steps to punish offenders and provide support for victims after student protesters demanded stronger action earlier this year.

The school has sent out three "crime alerts" to students since the fall semester began last week, warning that women had reported being sexually assaulted by acquaintances. Two of the incidents took place in residence halls, while the third occurred in an on-campus house.

"We take sexual assaults very seriously. There is no excuse for this crime. It has no place on this campus," Mason wrote in a mass email to students. "We must continue to address this problem, and we must not rest until it is eliminated entirely."

The university recently expelled the male student after he was found responsible for violating school policy by committing a sexual assault during the summer term, said Tom Rocklin, university vice president for student life. He said he could provide no other details on the assault or the student, and it's unclear whether he was criminally charged.

Another male student was expelled April 1 after the university found him responsible for committing two assaults, one in a residence hall and one off campus. It was the first time in years the university has expelled a student for sexual misconduct. In the past, offenders faced lengthy suspensions and bans from campus.

Rocklin said the university previously had concerns about its legal authority to expel students, but those have been addressed during conversations this year with the Board of Regents. He said expelled students can appeal the punishment to the regents but wouldn't say if either of these two individuals have done so.

He said the new guidelines for punishment largely follow the practices that had been in place, but sent a "clear and definitive" message to students.

"We want potential perpetrators to be on notice," he said.

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