UI Looking Into Allegations Following Dozens Of Reports Of Sexual Harassment By Student

Jun 12, 2018

The University of Iowa is looking into reports of sexual misconduct after dozens of women turned to Twitter to post allegations of harassment by a single student.

Credit Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of people took to Twitter to voice allegations of online and in-person harassment by a single student enrolled at the University of Iowa. The outpouring was prompted by a single post urging anyone else who had been allegedly targeted by the accused student to retweet the post. That original post has since been retweeted more than 1,300 times.

Officials at the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa Police Department commented directly on the posted allegations, urging anyone who needs help to contact the university or law enforcement.

In a written response, UI spokesperson Jeneane Beck said the school does not tolerate sexual misconduct.

"The university takes these allegations seriously and is working to learn more," Beck wrote.

The University of Iowa Police Department has received two formal complaints about the accused student, which were filed on December 5, 2017 and April 27, 2018. Both incident reports were filed by the same person. Redacted copies of the records show the victim was worried their alleged stalker "will try to harm the victim at their residence and job".

A screenshot posted to a Twitter thread where dozens of people outlined allegations of sexual harassment by a University of Iowa student.

When asked about any potential outcomes stemming from the December 2017 and April 2018 reports, including further investigations or disciplinary actions, Beck said she could not comment.

In regards to the recent allegations, the Office of the Dean of Students has been notified of the Twitter posts. But Beck again said the university won't comment on any investigations.

"We appreciate everyone's patience as we follow our standard processes to address this matter. Under Iowa law, we are not able to disclose the status of an investigation," she said.

While dozens of alleged victims chose to publish their accounts online, Beck said those posts do not constitute a formal complaint, and cannot spur an investigation by the university. UI officials are urging anyone who needs help to file a formal report with the university or law enforcement.

"Social media is a powerful tool for raising awareness, but we are limited in the actions we can take in response to anonymous reports," Beck said in a written statement.

University resources for those who need help reporting an incident can be found here.