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University of Iowa administrators this academic year began sending warning emails to the campus community for more than just stranger sex assaults — including sexual misconduct involving acquaintances. Brooks said the increase in alerts made her and her sorority sisters more aware of the dangers they face and the need to take action. “One of our members said she knew someone who teaches self-defense,” senior Jillian Brooks Brooks recalled.

After receiving notification after notification this school year warning of another sexual assault on campus, University of Iowa Brooks and other sorority members grew increasingly concerned — even scared — for their safety. “It’s out of control,” said Brooks, president of the UI’s Rho Lambda Honor Society and member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. “How many of these are going on?”

So they asked him — Jack Michel, a local martial arts instructor and security officer at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort — to put on a seminar for the 112 women of Rho Lambda. He agreed, and Brooks said the tips Michel offered were unique and invaluable in providing them not only knowledge of self-defense techniques but the confidence to use them. “He was entertaining … and it made sense,” Brooks said. “The girls loved it.” His advice was so well received, Brooks said, that Michel began offering classes twice a week to members of the sorority and now is seeking to expand his reach with a seminar targeting the UI Greek community.

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