Iowans are usually so helpful
University Diaries links to a particularly distressing story this morning.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that a young woman from Scott County Iowa has filed a lawsuit against the University of Northern Iowa.
(Scott County is directly across the Mississippi River from where I went to college, so I have an affinity for the region)
If the allegations of the lawsuit are true, then UNI is not a safe place for women. The backstory:
A Scott County woman who was sexually assaulted in her dorm room at the University of Northern Iowa has sued the school, accusing leaders of improper recruitment and supervision of athletes and botching how they handled the incident's aftermath.
The woman, who was an 18-year-old freshman at the time of the November 2004 assault, filed the lawsuit in Scott County District Court after the state denied her claim for $1 million in damages. ...
Panther football players Baylen Bernard Laury and Joseph Roy Thomas, both of Texas, were charged in connection with the November 2004 rape of the woman. Laury entered an Alford plea of guilty in October 2005 to an assault with intent to inflict serious injury, an aggravated misdemeanor, after three hung jury trials. Thomas pleaded guilty to third-degree sex assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
So, this young woman was raped in her dorm room; two football players were charged. So there's no question that a sexual assault happened.
But ... here's the thing. While the campus police helped the young woman, the administration of the campus apparently dropped the ball. When the woman tried to get help from the campus administration (including people whose job it seems to be to help women in this situation), they apparently didn't really help. Or show much compassion:
She eventually dropped out of school, the lawsuit states. The school sent her tuition bill to a collection agency, she said, and the dean of students told her he was "disappointed in her because she didn't tough it out."
This is not a good attitude. Nor is it the part of the claims that I find most alarming. Even though she asked for help from the dean of students -- she need accomdations, like a new dorm room and academic assistance -- she ended up having to speak to individual professors about it, rather than have support from the dean's office.
That's not even the most galling. This is:
After the assault, the college's sex assault counselor told her she "could not help with the situation" and that the woman should go to the student health service
Yes, indeed. The student felt abandoned by the sex assault counselor, after she's been sexually assaulted.
(Apparently, she also recieved harrassing phone calls and was so anxious about her own safety that she would push a dresser in front of her door before she would go to sleep at night).