Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On May 4, the University of Iowa Police Department issued a Crime Alert after learning one of our students reported a racially motivated attack. We are saddened and outraged by the horrible event that transpired Saturday evening. This kind of violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The UI Police are working with the Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) to investigate. Students have a right to feel safe on this campus.

The dean of students and the president met with Marcus and his family. His safety and well-being are our first priority. If UI students were involved, they will be subject to disciplinary procedures under the student code of conduct.

University of Iowa officials first learned of the incident late Tuesday afternoon from members of the media, but at that time they did not have any details or a police report to share publicly. UI Police contacted ICPD Wednesday morning. Once ICPD provided details of the report, UI Police issued a Crime Alert.

We later learned that the student did visit UI Police late Monday night, but because the crime occurred off campus, he was directed to ICPD to file a report. This was intended to prevent the victim from having to share his story multiple times. However, we now recognize this as a failure in current UI protocol and will be working with many campus and community partners, including ICPD, to improve reporting mechanisms for the future.

The University of Iowa is working to create a climate of inclusion, and this hate crime demonstrates we have a great deal of work left to do.

Bruce Harreld, President
P. Barry Butler, Executive Vice President and Provost
Georgina Dodge, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President
Tom Rocklin, Vice President for Student Life
Lucy Wiederholt, Interim Assistant Vice President and Director of Public Safety
Lyn Redington, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President
Rachel Zuckerman, UISG President
Lauren Freeman, UISG Vice President
Joshua Schoenfeld, GPSG President
Jasmine Mangrum, GPSG Vice President

Timeline of events leading up to Crime Alert issued May 4, 2016

Saturday, April 30

Between 10 and 11 p.m.: According to the press release provided by the Iowa City Police Department on Wednesday, May 4, an assault occurred in the alleyway of the 200 block of Iowa Avenue in Iowa City.

Monday, May 2

Approximately 10:45 p.m.: The victim’s uncle and an unidentified female told a dispatcher at the University of Iowa Police Department (UIPD) that they wanted to file an assault report for an incident that occurred downtown Iowa City and were referred to the Iowa City Police, who have jurisdiction.

11:21 p.m.: The victim came to the front desk of the Iowa City Police Department to report that he had been assaulted. (The full press release from the Iowa City Police Department is available here:

Tuesday, May 3

Approximately 3:55 p.m.: ABC 7 in Chicago calls the UI Office of Strategic Communication (OSC) to ask if the university has any information about the assault of a student that occurred in Iowa City over the weekend. ABC 7 also wants to confirm that the victim is a student. ABC 7 does not indicate that the attack is racially motivated or a hate crime.

4 p.m.: Immediately after hearing from ABC 7, the OSC contacts Dean Lyn Redington to see if she knows anything about an attack off campus involving a student.

4:15 p.m.: Dean Redington speaks with the OSC and says she is not aware but will investigate.

5:14 p.m.: The UI issues the following response to ABC 7: “We can confirm two students named Marcus Owens are listed in our directory. Since the incident happened off campus the best source of information is the Iowa City Police Department.”

5:30 p.m.: A reporter with KGAN calls the OSC to ask if the university has any information about the assault of a student that occurred off campus in Iowa City over the weekend. The reporter says the attack was racially motivated—a hate crime. The OSC shares the above statement and begins communication with administrators.

6:27 p.m.: The OSC notifies administrators via email that the assault may have been racially motivated.

Wednesday, May 4

1 a.m.: The University of Iowa tweets a statement that was also shared with the media: "#ExplainIowa UI officials first learned of the incident when called by a Chicago television station and are working to learn more. We are deeply disturbed by the incident & concerned for the student. We will inform the campus community as soon as we know more."

7:05 a.m.: UIPD contacts the Iowa City Police Department to request information about the incident.

7:30 a.m.: Administrators meet to coordinate care for the student victim and gather information.

9:30 a.m.: The dean of students and staff meet with the student victim and his family.

9:30 a.m.: President Harreld meets with administrators and UIPD to be briefed on the situation and determine next steps.

10:30 a.m.: President Harreld joins the meeting with the dean of students, the student victim, and his family.

10:45 a.m.: UIPD issues a Crime Alert after gathering information on the assault from the Iowa City Police Department.

Monday, May 16

9:36 p.m.: The Iowa City Police Department issues a press release announcing updates on the Marcus Owens investigation. The release also announces the city will hold a press conference on the investigation on Wednesday, May 17, at 9:30 a.m.

The full press release is available here:

Tuesday, May 17

8:04 a.m.: The University of Iowa shares a statement with the UI community. The statement is available here:

9:30 a.m.: The Iowa City Police Department and Johnson County Attorney’s Office holds a press conference to discuss details of the investigation.

A video of the news conference is available here: