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Regents tap $1 million grant to fund review of sexual assault policies
In the wake of the University of Iowa’s mishandling of an alleged sexual assault case in October 2007, the Iowa State Board of Regents ordered a comprehensive review of the sexual assault and misconduct policies at all of the state’s universities.
University of Northern Iowa Professor Annette Lynch, who is leading the effort, said funding for the review could cost $51,700, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The regents’ office will pick up half the tab, while the other half will be funded by a portion of a $1 million Flagship grant awarded in 2007 to the University of Northern Iowa from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.
“I commend the universities for their efforts in quickly initiating this review process, particularly in securing grant funding from the Department of Justice for this initiative,” Regents President David Miles said in a statement. “The involvement of the Department of Justice and its consultants will provide important national expertise on sexual assault policies to ensure a comprehensive review of the policies at the Regent universities. I further appreciate the universities’ commitment to completing this review in a timely manner.”
This review responds to the regents’ resolution adopted Sept. 25, 2008, which directs all of the board’s institutions to develop common policies and procedures dealing with sexual assault consistent with standards and best practices available in the higher education community. The policies will address the specific recommendations developed by The Stolar Partnership based on its investigation of the UI’s handling of an alleged sexual assault. The new policies and procedures will be presented to the board at its meeting on Dec. 11.
The regents hired a St. Louis law firm, the Stolar Partnership, in July to conduct an independent review of the UI’s independent investigation of the university’s handling of an alleged sexual assault of a female student-athlete at the Hillcrest Residence Hall on Oct. 14, 2007. The accused, two former members of the UI football team, Abe Satterfield, 20, and Cedric Everson, 19, are still awaiting trial.
The Stolar review was prompted by the mother of one of the accused, who had sent a letter accusing athletic officials of trying to keep the investigation in-house. Released in September, the report revealed that the UI failed to turn over the mother’s letters during a previous investigation and found “numerous and substantial flaws in not only the response of the University of Iowa to the alleged sexual assault at issue, but also in its policies, procedures and practices regarding the same.”
The Stolar report, which will end up costing the state $247,588, led to UI President Sally Mason’s immediate firing of two top officials, former UI vice president for student services Phillip Jones and Marcus Mills, UI vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, for their role in the alleged sexual assault investigation.