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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 17, 2006

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UI Launches Sexual Harassment Awareness Campaign

Sexual harassment can happen anywhere: in the residence hall or office, on the bus or street, among strangers and among friends. Which is why the University of Iowa is launching a new public awareness campaign this fall.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a Web site -- http://www.sexualharassment.uiowa.edu -- that contains frequently asked questions (FAQs), resources for help and downloadable posters. Additionally, vinyl window stickers will be placed in Cambuses and in UI libraries, and placards will be mailed to all students living in residence halls.

The posters and other visual elements of the campaign feature photographs of some of the kinds of places where sexual harassment can occur framed by a dotted line and the words "Sexual harassment can happen anywhere" and "Get the picture."

The concept was developed by the Iowa Memorial Union's Graphic Design Unit to support the university's comprehensive responses to recommendations in reports by the Campus Climate Committee and a subsequent campus survey on sexual harassment conducted by the Council on the Status of Women.

In its list of recommendations following the survey, the Council on the Status of Women said this: "It is critical that the University of Iowa dedicate energy and resources towards ensuring that its community knows about, understands, and feels free to use its sexual harassment policy and procedures."

The campaign is geared primarily toward UI undergraduate students, who were, according to the survey, the least informed about the UI's sexual harassment policies. In addition, the hope is that the campaign will also raise awareness among UI faculty and staff that sexual harassment will not be tolerated, said Steve Parrott, UI director of University Relations.

"The survey indicated that students, and especially new students, were largely unaware of our policies as well as the places they can go for information or help," Parrott said. "The Website is an attempt to bring that all together in one place. And the companion communications plan, which includes posters, ads, and other elements, is an attempt to make students, as well as faculty and staff, aware of the Web site and more importantly, the policy."

Bret Gothe, IMU marketing and creativity coordinator, said the eye-catching campaign was developed by a team that included Sara Lenger, IMU design supervisor, and student designers.

"Our goal was to try to raise awareness about sexual harassment on campus in a way that was visually compelling," Gothe said. "We wanted to communicate our message in a way that was respectful about the topic but also addressed the concerns raised by the climate reports and surveys."

Another component of the UI's response to the climate reports and survey is mandatory training about sexual harassment and violence policies. Earlier this year former UI President David Skorton ordered earlier training for all administrators and new students. More information is available at http://www.uiowa.edu/president/task-forces/sexual_harass_survey/index.html

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen J. Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu