U. Of Iowa President, Under Fire For Remarks On Sexual Misconduct, Reveals She Was Assaulted In College

Sally Mason University Iowa PresidentVia Wikimedia CommonsUniversity of Iowa President Sally Mason

Facing criticism for seemingly insensitive remarks about sexual assault, University of Iowa President Sally Mason revealed last night that she had faced a traumatic experience as an undergraduate.

At a community forum Thursday to address recent sexual assault measures, Mason told the crowd of 200 that she had been sexually assaulted when she was a student at the University of Kentucky.

According to the Associated Press, Mason said that “a man in a trench coat grabbed and groped her before she was able to fight him off and get away. She said the attack ‘left me shaken’ but that she had no clue where to turn for help.”

UI recently updated its sexual assault policies, with new measures such as increased coordination between official law enforcement and outside channels, such as housing staff. These efforts have appeared to register more assaults on campus, although Mason says it is only the number of official reports that are increasing — not the assaults themselves.

“Communicating more about sexual assaults has created the impression that more incidents are occurring in Iowa City. That’s not the case,” Mason wrote in a blog post this week.

Mason recieved significant criticism this month following an interview with student newspaper The Daily Iowan. In response to a question about the increasing number of sexual assault reports, Mason said, “The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature.”

In response to considerable negative feedback, Mason apologized for her remarks, writing in an open letter, I want to make my position clear. I believe that there is no excuse for sexual assault. I have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct, and I know that sexual assault is never the fault of the survivor.”

You can check out some of the community responses to The Iowan here.

Mason also made headlines last September when she expressed concern for UI student Samantha Goudie — known as “Vodka Samm” after registering a .341 BAC — saying, “I feel very, very concerned about the young student that had that level of alcohol in her blood. I’m very concerned for her health, safety and well-being.”

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