Iowa City, IA

Almost Two Years Later The University of Iowa Still Protects Rapists Amid Protests

Mia Fornes
Protest against FIJI fraternity on the University of Iowa campus-The Hawk Eye

IOWA CITY-IA Two year ago, a University of Iowa student called the Iowa City Police Department to report a sexual assault following a party at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

But since Iowa City police carried out search warrants in September 2020, no arrests have been made. Records indicate police obtained DNA from the two students accused of the assault and of allegedly sharing video and photos of it.

A year later, seeing the lack of arrests and prosecution as an absence of justice, supporters of the alleged victim launched a petition demanding that the fraternity, also known as FIJI, be removed from campus.

Last summer, multiple protests took place outside the fraternity house, as well as outside UI President's house, Barbara Wilson, who began her tenure that same summer.

Wilson addressed the allegations only in the form of emails, prompting the rage of the student community. Police say about 1,000 people participated in last year's night protest, the first and largest gathering of all.

The names of these two students have been widely shared through social media. However, the University of Iowa hasn't expelled the students nor sanctioned them in any form. The victim had to take classes with her assaulters during the semesters that followed.

Fifteen months after a University of Iowa student told investigators she was sexually assaulted by a pair of fraternity brothers who shared video and pictures of the attack on social media, Iowa City police arrested one of the accused men on a harassment charge.

Carson Douglas Steffen, 20, of North Liberty, was arrested six months ago on suspicion of first-degree harassment, an aggravated misdemeanor, which generally is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine in the thousands upon conviction.

The student's attorney, Eashaan Vajpeyi, filed a civil lawsuit on her behalf in Johnson County against the two men, as well as the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity seeking compensatory and punitive damages for her suffering. No criminal charges have been filed against the men, after almost two years she has spent hoping and waiting.

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