Students at the University of Iowa are protesting President Sally Mason’s bizarrely insensitive and seemingly uninformed comments about rape and sexual assault. In an interview with the Daily Iowan on Feb. 18 Mason said “The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature … “ Sexual assault is human nature?
Five times in the Feb. 18 interview, Mason characterized sexual assault as a “bad thing” that “happens” to people, not once referring to the act of rape as a crime.
“when it comes to sexual assault and other kinds of bad things that can happen to people, you have to know more about it, we have to understand it, and I think what we’re seeing now is more people being willing to come forward and tell us when something bad happens.”
So, according to Mason, rape and sexual assault is just something bad that happens, implying that it is nobody’s fault. Further, she opines that we need to find a greater understanding about it. One wonders if she also thinks we need to find a better understanding of other types of crimes.
To be fair, the interviewer’s question was specifically about how the UI was educating people on the topic of sexual assault. So perhaps she didn’t really mean it like it sounded, but unfortunately the rest of her interview on this topic did nothing to indicate otherwise.
The implication that rape is “human nature” is not only incorrect but highly offensive and dangerous and frankly, a deplorable way for anyone to characterize a violent crime, particularly a university president who should definitely know better.
In response, students organized a respectably attended protest on the Pentacrest and a protest at Mason’s annual presidential lecture (see video and links below). The Daily Iowan is publishing every letter received on the topic.
A statement was released by Mason on Feb. 20. Notice how the rhetoric changed. The word crime appears twice in three short sentences.
“Sexual assault is a terrible crime, one for which there is no excuse. The UI will take all the actions in our power to prevent rapes, to support victims, and to prosecute offenders. Even one sexual assault in our community is too many, and we must confront this together as a community. I am committed to do everything in my power to end this terrible crime on our campus.”
That’s more like it. Not only is rape now a crime, it is a terrible crime. We’re making progress! Now may they follow this statement with policy to match.
Bravo UI students for banding together and speaking truth to power!
Click here to read the DI interview with Sally Mason
Click here to view coverage of the pentacrest protest
Click here to read letters to the Daily Iowan in response to Mason’s comments
Video of protest at Mason’s annual lecture on Feb. 24:
Remember the petition you signed urging President Obama and the FCC to classify internet providers as “common carriers” which drew 105,572 signatures? This is what it said:
On January 14, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s open internet rules, commonly known as “Net Neutrality” because ISPs are not classified as “common carriers.” This ruling allows ISPs to charge companies for access to its users and charge users for access to certain services. Fewer companies will be able to afford access for innovative ideas and products.
We urge the President to direct the FCC to classify ISPs as “common carriers” so that the words of the FCC chairman may be fulfilled: “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.
Official White House Response to Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as “Common Carriers.”
Reaffirming the White House’s Commitment to Net Neutrality
By Gene Sperling and Todd Park
Thank you to everyone who has signed on to this petition in support of a free and open Internet. Since his days as a United States Senator, President Obama has embraced the principle of net neutrality. As the President recently noted, his campaign for the White House was empowered by an open Internet; it allowed millions of supporters to interact with the President and each other in unprecedented fashion. That experience helped give rise to the creation of this very platform — the We The People website — where Americans can express their opinions on any topic and receive a response from the White House. Rights of free speech, and the free flow of information, are central to our society and economy — and the principle of net neutrality gives every American an equal and meaningful opportunity to participate in both. Indeed, an open Internet is an engine for freedom around the world.
Preserving an open Internet is vital not to just to the free flow of information, but also to promoting innovation and economic productivity. Because of its openness, the Internet has allowed entrepreneurs — with just a small amount of seed money or a modest grant — to take their innovative ideas from the garage or the dorm room to every corner of the Earth, building companies, creating jobs, improving vital services, and fostering even more innovation along the way.
Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide.
A wide spectrum of stakeholders and policymakers recognize the importance of these principles. In the wake of last month’s court decision, it was encouraging to hear major broadband providers assert their commitment to an open Internet.
It was also encouraging to see Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, whom the President appointed to that post last year, reaffirm his commitment to a free and open Internet and pledge to use the authority granted by Congress to maintain a free and open Internet. The White House strongly supports the FCC and Chairman Wheeler in this effort.
The petition asked that the President direct the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as “common carriers” which, if upheld, would give the FCC a distinct set of regulatory tools to promote net neutrality. The FCC is an independent agency. Chairman Wheeler has publicly pledged to use the full authority granted by Congress to maintain a robust, free and open Internet — a principle that this White House vigorously supports.
Gene Sperling is Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Todd Park is the United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President.
Groups Expose Assault By ALEC Fossil Fuel & Utility Members on Clean Energy and Environmental Regulations
Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), fossil fuel and utility interests are pushing a comprehensive agenda to eliminate environmental and public health regulations, and gut pro-clean energy policies across the country. ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force has proposed model legislation and is now appearing in state legislatures, to:
• Rollback renewable energy policies by weakening or eliminating Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).
• Weaken solar net metering policies by gutting compensation for homeowners who transmit solar power to the electricity grid.
• Create loopholes in disclosure rules for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), allowing drilling companies to hide chemicals used in the controversial process from the public.
• Reject regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency, allowing utilities to continue polluting our air and water.
There will be a tele-press briefing with pro-clean energy and environmental experts to hear about where ALEC’s pro-corporate energy agenda is appearing in state legislatures this year.
Who: Aliya Haq, Climate Program Special Projects Director, NRDC
Brant Olson, Campaigns Manager, Forecast the Facts
Connor Gibson, Reseacher, Greenpeace
Gabe Elsner, Executive Director, Energy & Policy Institute
Steve Horn, Research Fellow, DeSmogBlog
What: Tele-press conference call on ALEC’s fossil fuel and utility members’ comprehensive assault on clean energy and environmental regulations. Speakers will detail efforts happening now in state legislatures to gut clean air regulations, stop pro-clean energy policies, and restrict disclosure of fracking chemicals.
When: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM CT
How: Reporters should register at http://bit.ly/1ez0voa to join the call.
DeSmogBlog exists to clear the PR pollution that is clouding the science on climate change.Energy & Policy Institute performs research and analysis on lobbyists, front groups, and politicians working to expand our reliance on fossil fuels and slow the development of a clean energy economy.Forecast the Facts is a grassroots movement to spread the truth about climate change. Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a national environmental action group that combines the expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals with the power of 1.4 million members and online activists.
When: Thursday, February 20
Who: Union members, friends of labor and community members
Where: 940 South Gilbert Ct., Iowa City, City Fed Office (Center for Justice Worker Hall)
There is a petition to Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors: John Logsdon, Dennis Karlsbroten, Mark Kuhn, Floyd Ashbacher, and Dean Thompson, which says:
“We, the people of Winneshiek County, call for a rights-based ordinance banning industrial frac sand extraction and processing.
NO FRAC SAND MINING. Period!”
Will you sign this petition? Click here
Frac sand mining and processing cause long-term economic and environmental destruction.
To prevent this imminent danger we must act now to protect the health and integrity of our community.
For more information, please go to: CommunityRightsAlliance.org
Previous BFIA posts about fracking in Iowa
This man wants to cut money and services to everyone else but has the audacity to give himself an $11,000 per year pay raise. Poor Terry just can’t get by on $130,000 per year plus. Now he’s saying we should up his annual income to $141,000 per year while at the same time he is denying entry level workers a livable minimum wage. Question of the day: Why do Iowans put up with this crap?
NORTH LIBERTY, IA—The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found sufficient evidence to prosecute South Slope Telecommunications Cooperative with three separate violations of federal labor law.
South Slope employees represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed unfair labor practice charges against South Slope in November, 2013, after management locked employees out for one day and then imposed harsh new contract changes—including 30% wage cuts for new hires and transfers—that employees had unanimously voted to reject on two occasions.
This week the NLRB announced results of its investigation finding merit in CWA’s allegations that South Slope committed the following unfair labor practices:
· Threatening employees with the loss of benefits,
· Unlawfully locking out employees on November 1, 2013, and
· Unlawfully implementing a last, best, and final contract offer prior to reaching impasse in negotiations.
The NLRB will now attempt to negotiate a settlement with South Slope, allowing management the chance to remedy the violations and begin bargaining in good faith. If South Slope refuses to remedy and settle the charges, the NLRB will move forward with scheduling a hearing to prosecute South Slope with violations of the National Labor Relations Act.
“We hope the NLRB’s announcement serves as a wake-up call, and that South Slope management will take this opportunity to revoke their unlawfully imposed contract changes and return to the bargaining table with intent to bargain toward a fair contract,” said Kay Pence, CWA staff representative.
South Slope employee Matt Holub, who has been directly involved in contract negotiations, said he was “relieved but not surprised” by the NLRB’s announcement. “My co-workers and I have already witnessed first-hand our new management’s refusal to seek compromise or even follow standard procedures in this year’s negotiations. We sincerely hope the results of the Labor Board’s investigation will encourage South Slope to work with us to move bargaining forward. All of us are eager to reach a fair contract agreement and keep focusing on the quality customer service that makes South Slope successful.”
Valentine’s Day provides a great moment to say thank you to everyone who loves and protects Iowa’s natural environment.
The Iowa Environmental Council is a community of people like you all across the state (and beyond) who believe in keeping our air, water, and land healthy. You know the beauty and the value of Iowa’s ecosystems, and you’re protecting the state for the generations of Iowans who will follow.
The Polk County Health Department, A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS), and other community partners will be holding a health insurance enrollment fair on Saturday, February 15 from 9:00am to 1:00pm at the Evelyn Davis Center for Working Families (801 University Ave, Unit 3 in Des Moines).
In January, the group held a very successful event. Because of this success another event will be held.Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department Director said “Ninety-four people attended the event we held last month. Many of them, for the first time, were able to sign up for health insurance. We learned that having someone available to walk them through the process is what is necessary for some people to get signed up.”
In order to help individuals understand their choices and assist them with the sign-up process the health fair will be staffed by professionals from:
- Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa
- Planned Parenthood of the Heartland
- Coventry Health Care, Proteus, Primary HealthCare
- Mercy Medical Center
- UnityPoint Health Des Moines
- Broadlawns Medical Center
- CoOportunity Health
This enrollment fair will provide individuals with detailed information about each Marketplace health insurance plan offered in Iowa and can help determine eligibility for Marketplace subsidies.
In order to complete the enrollment application at the fair, please bring the following information:
· Current ID
· Social Security Card
· 2012 Income Tax Returns
· If working, last pay stub
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Keynote speaker Jim Hightower, “America’s #1 populist!”
Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds – Expo Building
Cocktails – 5:30 PM • Dinner – 6:30 PM
Click here to purchase tickets online
Special invited guests include:
Senator Tom Harkin, Dave Loebsack, Jack Hatch, Bruce Braley, Ako Abdul-Samad, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois
Attend a “Meet and Greet” with Jim. For more info, contact Beverly Strayhall at (563) 359 -0909.
National Preach-In on Climate Change
Brought to you by Interfaith Power & Light. http://www.preachin.org/
Iowa Preach-in Events:
“Chasing Ice” movie, Independence, IA — 02/15/2014 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Climate Change Sermon, Decorah, IA — 02/16/2014 at 10:30 am – 11:30 am