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UI Making Progress On Sex Assault Issues

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Weeks of controversy have brought about a wave of change at the University of Iowa.

I've been talking to students and asking them what they think, and they seem very pleased, says Linda Stewart Kroon with the UI Women's Resource and Action Center.

This comes as another report surfaces concerning a sex assault on campus just a few days ago. However, Kroon says a few weeks ago, it may have gone unreported.

People are willing to talk about the fact that sexual assault occurs and that there are resources available, Kroon says.

She adds if the number of reported cases continues to rise, its not necessarily cause for alarm.

We sometimes think if the reports are going up that's a bad thing, Kroon says. But in fact, it's a good thing. Its a sign that people who are needing help are getting it now.

University of Iowa President Sally Mason continues to lay out her Six Point Plan to provide that help.

The University will do everything in its power to prevent sexual violence, to support survivors, and to hold offenders responsible, Mason told the Iowa Board of Regents at the Iowa Memorial Union Wednesday Afternoon.

Among the ideas proposed to the board - the addition of a second Night Ride van, the formation of a student advisory group that will meet with mason monthly, and a new class for incoming students called Every Choice.

The new course will begin this fall and it will be coupled with in person workshops that teach bystanders how to safely intervene, Mason says.

Another big change is to the timely warning system, the message system that alerts students of threats to the university - including assaults.

We changed the language of our timely warning alerts in response to student requests, Mason told the board.

Kroon says students have complained to her in the past about the alerts.

The overall tone of the warning is clearer to students, Kroon said. There's not any aspect of it which appears to blame the victim for the crime.

Kroon says the fact that student input is being taken into account through all of this is encouraging. Now, all the students concerns are out in the open.

Its not a taboo topic anymore thats one of the good outcomes from all of this.

Kroon says if there's one concern moving forward, it's the safety of transgendered students. Mason didn't address the subject, but Kroon says they are an often targeted group, and the university has to adjust accordingly to provide the resources and help they need.
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