SJMC Takes Action

Issue: 

#metoo iowaTo address sexual assault and harassment on campus and at work, SJMC faculty members organized an inclusive campus forum this past spring. The forum concerned how faculty should discuss sexual assault and harassment in the classroom, and also provided key information about where students can seek further assistance.

The panel featured a variety of SJMC leaders and faculty, including UI assistant professor Melissa Tully, who discussed the power of social media within the #MeToo movement. Also on the panel: Lata D’Mello, assistant director of Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa; Monique DiCarlo, UI sexual misconduct response coordinator; Katryn Duarte, assistant director of the Rape Victims Advocacy Program; and Cody Howell, violence prevention specialist for the Women’s Resource and Action Center.

Moderated by UI Professor William Liu from the College of Education, the forum was organized by SJMC Associate Professor Frank Durham, Professor Gigi Durham, and Assistant Professor Brian Ekdale and held in Shambaugh Auditorium.

Duarte said people must put more pressure on institutions that create and foster negative environments where sexual assault runs rampant. Duarte cited the Weinstein case. What the famous director did was awful, but society should talk more about the institution (Hollywood) that allowed this type of behavior. Duarte encouraged audience members to dive deeper and ask: “How did the entertainment industry allow this to happen for so long?”

Following the panel discussion, the forum extended to the audience, allowing listeners to ask questions to specific panel members. Through a greater sense of community outreach and activism, SJMC and the UI hope to diminish sexual assault and harassment on campus. Crucial conversations like this are a step in the right direction.

 

Each panel member received 15 to 25 minutes to discuss a topic, ranging from how the UI handles such cases to the importance of men listening, seeking, and taking action to prevent further incidents.