UNDER FIRE: Mason Goes Before Board Of Regents

University of Iowa president Sally Mason faced criticism for comments she made about sexual assaults on campus, Friday.

The Iowa Board of Regents called a special meeting Friday afternoon to explain her comments and to discuss ongoing communication issues she has had with the board.

Last week, Mason told the university paper, “I’m not pleased that we have sexual assaults, obviously. The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature, and that’s unfortunate.”

During open session Friday Mason clarified her comments.

“What I meant is that violence and crime are unfortunately things we confront every day and it makes this issue complex and difficult.”

After a “listening session” on Thursday, Mason again apologized for her “hurtful comments.” She clarified, “I know sexual assault is never the fault of the survivor.”

Mason offered a six-point plan to combat sexual assault on campus that includes expelling rather than suspending sexual offenders and increased support for survivors.

“It’s a good first step and a lot of them reflected our list of demands that we had articulated to the university,” Chelsea Bacon, a student who helped organize protest said.

Board members chastised Mason for what they felt was a lack of communication over the issue but there was no discussion of disciplining her.