UI students protest against administration's response to sexual - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI students protest against administration's response to sexual assaults

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Some University of Iowa students are outraged over recent comments the university's president, Sally Mason made in response sexual assaults on campus.

A group of students protested during Mason's annual Presidential Lecture Sunday, and calls her recent comments victim-blaming.

Chelsea Bacon, a graduate student and one of the protesters says it has been an ongoing issue for far too long, and the university need more polices in place to stop sexual assaults.

“It was not the first comment that she's made in the same vain of not quite fully grasping what rape culture is,” said Bacon.

The University of Iowa has issued eight timely warning notifications about reported sexual assaults, since the 2013-14 academic school year began in August.

They've also issued one additional alert for an alleged assault on a woman that did not include sexual contact.

"The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault," stated Mason in the student newspaper, the Daily Iowa. "That's probably not a realistic goal just given human nature, and that's unfortunate, but the more we understand about it, the better we are at trying to handle it and help people get through these difficult situations …"

“She says it’s human nature, but it is human nature to do a lot of vile things," said UI student Mariam El-Hattab, "but we don't see that happening on campus."

El-Hattab says she’s scared to walk alone on campus at night because of the fear of being sexually assaulted.

During the Presidential Lecture Sunday, silent protesters made their voices heard, by holding signs reading: “This university protects rapist not victims” and “Not in my nature Sally.”

Every Monday the protesters will meet at the Pentacrest for 'Moral Mondays', as a way to demand policy change and receive an apology from Mason.

“The apology is one thing, words are words, actions are completely different, and until we see policy changes we don't plan on stopping,” said protester Bailey Cole.

The dean of student life met with representatives of the protest to hear their concerns, that will be shared with Mason.

While Mason wasn't available for comment Monday, the Office of Strategic Communication did send us a statement from Mason.

"Sexual assault is a terrible crime, one for which there is no excuse," said Mason.

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