Higher education

University of Iowa sexual assault warnings reach nine on the semester

Police have warned of five since Friday

The Old Capitol building is shown in Iowa City on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The Old Capitol building is shown in Iowa City on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa since Friday has warned its community of five sexual assaults across campus — news that comes as students are participating in a first-of-its-kind UI survey aimed at assessing campus climate related to sexual misconduct.

All UI students on Oct. 26 received an email invitation to participate in the “Speak Out Iowa” survey, and they have until Nov. 20 to answer questions related to their knowledge, opinions, and beliefs on things like policies, resources, perceptions, and the prevalence of sexual misconduct on campus.

Before Friday, the university had issued four warnings to campus about sexual assault reports so far this academic year. Friday’s warning, which included information on two reports, brought the tally to six. And a warning issued by UI police Tuesday morning about three reported incidents of groping near the UI Hospitals and Clinics campus brings the total to nine on the semester.

Although university officials don’t release many details about each incident, the Friday warning said UI officials in late October received reports of two separate sexual assaults in which the victims and assailants were acquaintances.

The first incident occurred Oct. 29 at an off-campus fraternity, and the second happened Oct. 31 at a residence hall on the east side of campus.

Tuesday morning, UI police issued a Hawk Alert — and posted a message on the department’s Facebook page — warning the campus it had received three reports of a male groping women near the UI Hospitals and Clinics, Main Library, and Hospital Ramp 4.

The man was described as a white male, 5-foot 10-inches tall, wearing a red flannel shirt, torn jeans, and flip-flops.

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The semester’s first “timely warning” related to a reported sexual assault came Aug. 19 — about a week before classes began. It warned the campus about a reported assault late Aug. 17 near the Iowa River, during which the victim said she was pulled into a construction area by an unknown suspect and sexually assaulted.

The second warning came Aug. 24 from a student who reported being touched inappropriately by an acquaintance in an east side residence hall. The third was sent Aug. 31 about a sexual assault involving acquaintances in an east side dorm late Aug. 28.

And the fourth was reported Sept. 22 by a student, who lives on campus, and said she was assaulted Sept. 20 in a west side residence hall by an acquaintance she met online.

The university issued nine crime alerts for reported sexual misconduct in the 2014-2015 academic year. Those reports involved a total of 11 incidents.

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