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Iowa News Analysis: FEMA for Iowa, U of I Football Players Investigation

posted on July 25, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Host Paul Yeager and David Pitt of the Associated Press discuss the Iowa Board of Regents action this week to investigate allegations the University of Iowa mishandled a case involving an alleged rape by two University of Iowa football players. Pitt also talks about Governor Chet Culver's attempts to fast-track obtainment of federal emergency aid following an estimated billion dollars in flood damage to the state.

Paul Yeager: David, let's first start with Iowa City, the Board of Regents and the University of Iowa football team and the athletic department. The three of them have really been in headlines since Saturday, since there was an article in the Iowa City Press Citizen from the mother of a victim of an alleged assault involving one of the football players. What has happened in that story this week involving the Board of Regents and how quick do we expect they'll act?

David Pitt: The Board of Regents held an emergency meeting, a special meeting on Tuesday and they decided to take this issue and study it themselves. They decided to take it out of the realm of the university and how it was dealt with there and take a look at whether they think the people at the university followed their own procedures and the established processes they have to deal with something like this on campus.

Paul Yeager: Because they've already done this once. They already had an investigation once on this case and now they're doing it again. Are they thinking something different is going to come out?

David Pitt: Well, I think what surfaced were a couple of letters written by the mother of the woman that you discussed earlier and the mother is alleging a number of things. She's saying that the university didn't handle it properly, a lot of allegations have been surfacing in those letters and I think the Regents discovered that the letters existed and found that they should probe this thing a little bit closer or take a look at it and, again, try to determine whether proper procedures were followed. They appointed one of their own, Bonnie Campbell, who is a former state attorney general, to take a look at it and she has a team of people that are members of the board to study it and I think they're expecting to have a report by September.

Paul Yeager: Now, we did not hear from the coach until today, Coach Ferentz made some comments at a Big Ten media day in Chicago, talked to ESPN about that and we're expecting -- are these the only comments he's going to make or are we expecting more comments from him before this is done?

David Pitt: Well, I would anticipate that there will not be a lot more said. I mean, I think obviously they're in a situation now where if the Regents Board is going to study this then they probably want to tell their story to people who are studying the issue. They're saying that not everything is known in the public about what they knew and when they knew it and how this all surfaced. So, obviously there are two sides to every story and I think it probably wouldn't be wise for them, I'm sure that's what they have determined and perhaps their legal council has determined, that it might not be the smartest thing to go out and say a whole lot about this until the internal investigations are completed. The case is going to go to trial on the part of the two football players later in the year, former football players, they're gone now.

Paul Yeager: Let's talk about the flood a little bit. The Governor was making another plea, he was out in Washington this week and he was talking to members of Congress. He was wanting some emergency money to be expedited a little quicker to get here to the state and met a roadblock. What is that roadblock?

David Pitt: Well, the Senate Appropriations Committee was to take up the bill and discuss emergency appropriations for flood damage in the Midwest including Iowa and they decided to suspend that debate and Congress is now getting ready, as a lot of people probably know, to take a recess, take a break and a vacation as it were. So, they have decided to not take that up now and it looks like it's going to be delayed for at least a month probably. So, it's an issue for a lot of people. I think that there was a hope on the Governor's part and the Congressional delegation from Iowa that they would get this thing moving on the fast track.

Paul Yeager: And to say he was pleased with this is probably an understatement, he was anything but. He made a quick statement back. What were some of the things he was saying?

David Pitt: Well, the Governor had recently said that they found another $1 billion or a little over $1 billion of damage mostly to housing in Iowa that had not been in earlier estimates. So, we're almost approaching $10 billion now of damage in the state of Iowa when you take a look at all the infrastructure and everything combined. I think they're saying that the resources that have so far been allocated by Congress and other sources is not even approaching that amount. So, obviously they're looking for emergency funding to try to get people right again after the damage from the flooding.

Paul Yeager: And that's something that he would like to see move forward because he is making his case that we were one of the hardest hits or as some folks in those areas say this is the same level as Katrina, we need the same attention that they got.

David Pitt: That's the point that they're trying to make exactly.

Paul Yeager: David Pitt of the Associated Press, thank you as always for stopping by The Iowa Journal.

David Pitt: You're welcome.


Tags: Chet Culver disaster relief floods football governors Iowa jobs news rape University of Iowa


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