University of Iowa students walk past the Old Capitol building on campus on the first day of the semester, Aug. 24, 2009, in Iowa City, Iowa.(Photo: Matthew Holst, (Iowa City, Iowa) Press-Citizen)
IOWA CITY, Iowa (Iowa City Press-Citizen) -- A University of Iowa teaching assistant e-mailed "inappropriate content to her students" this week, an incident that now is under review, university officials said Wednesday.
Officials are asking anyone who received the message, which reportedly included nude photos of the teaching assistant, to delete the e-mail and not pass it on.
"The individual who sent the messages has stated that it was an accident. She regrets her actions," University of Iowa spokesman Tom Moore said in an e-mail.
"This incident was inappropriate, and the university will look into it and take appropriate actions under our policies and procedures," he said.
The incident was made public Wednesday morning on the website TotalFratMove.com, which stated the teaching assistant in the university's math department had accidentally e-mailed nude photos of herself to students.
The website also posted what it claims is a copy of the assistant's e-mail, which reads: "Hi Class, I attach the solutions for number 76 and 78 in this email."
According to TotalFratMove, which claims it has copies of the nude images, "The images are from a video chat that is quite sexual in nature. It appears that two people are 'cyber-sexing' from different locations using video equipment."
A student tweeted, "The TA was teaching her 7:30 discussion session this morning trying to act like nothing happened but (was) clearly very rattled. No one said anything about it but it was just extremely awkward."
It didn't take long for students to begin tweeting about the incident.
"breaking news: An Iowa TA accidentally emailed naked pictures of herself to 80+ students instead of the study guide," read one student's tweet.
Another tweeted: "A math TA here accidentally emailed naked pics of herself to her students instead of the study guide."
"Class with the most famous TA in University of Iowa history starts in an hour and a half. Wish me luck! Should I ask for an autograph?" tweeted another student.
Kembrew McLeod, a University of Iowa professor of communication studies, said in order to deal with these types of situations, universities should keep their policies flexible and consider who is involved.
"It seems to me more general policies about inappropriate behaviors can be easily crafted to cover a variety of situations," he said.
For example, McLeod said a full professor with a history of inappropriate behavior who sends out nude photos of himself to students should be dealt with differently than a teaching assistant, with no such history, who "clearly didn't mean to send nude photos of herself to her students."
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