The University of Iowa’s president on Tuesday publicly apologized for her remarks about sexual assault that were published in a recent article by the university’s student newspaper, the Press-Citizen of Iowa City reported.
The Daily Iowan published an interview with Iowa’s president, Sally Mason, on February 18. In her response to a question about the university’s effort to educate students amid an increase in reported sexual assaults, she said in part: “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, but the more we understand about it, the better we are at trying to handle it and help people get through these difficult situations.”
Some critics interpreted her comments to mean that sexual assault is a part of human nature, and a group started a petition calling on Ms. Mason to apologize and the university to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault.
Ms. Mason apologized during a regularly scheduled president’s forum, in which she typically gives updates about the campus and the current legislative session.
“Several people in the campus community have let me know that my remarks on sexual assault that were printed in The Daily Iowan were hurtful,” she said. “I did not intend them to be so. I am very, very sorry for any pain that my words might have caused.”
She said there was “no excuse” for sexual assault and asserted that the university would do everything it could to prevent sexual violence and support survivors. She pledged to hold a listening session this week on the issue of sexual misconduct.