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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has expelled a student for sexual misconduct for the first time in several years, the school said Friday, weeks after its president announced a tougher stance toward sexual assault in response to protests.
The male student was expelled April 1 for a "pattern of predatory behavior" that included two separate incidents, one in a residence hall in January and the other off-campus in December, university spokesman Tom Moore said. Both involved forcible fondling and one involved sodomy, he said.
It's unclear whether charges have been filed in the December assault, which wasn't reported to the Iowa City Police Department until February. The other student decided not to press charges. Moore declined to release the expelled student's name, citing its practice of not identifying students who face disciplinary sanctions.
Friday's announcement comes after university president Sally Mason unveiled a six-point plan to combat campus sexual assault in February, which included expelling the most serious offenders.
Mason caused an uproar earlier that month, when she told the student newspaper that sexual assault probably couldn't be eliminated because of "human nature." Student protesters said it showed the university's lack of commitment to the issue and insensitivity toward victims.
Mason quickly apologized and made several policy changes that were praised by protesters. Nonetheless, she was still publicly criticized by some members of the Iowa Board of Regents for her handling of the issue.
Dean of Students David Grady said at a campus forum in February that he was not aware of a single case in which a student had been expelled for committing sexual assault. He said that 12 student suspensions were related to sexual assault or domestic violence in the previous three years.
Mason told reporters then that expelling the most serious offenders "will make it clear that we do not tolerate rape."
Moore said Friday the expulsion is the first "that anyone can recall in recent memory," but he's not sure how far back that goes. Mason has been president since 2007.
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