A pollster warned the University of Iowa last year that its public standing was suffering from an image as a heavy-drinking school where sexual assault was too common.

In a report obtained by The Associated Press, Washington-based pollster Chris Perkins tells university leaders that those perceptions mean the school "loses credibility as a serious academic institution." He recommends specific messages for a communications strategy to combat the image.

The university has refused to release the December 2014 poll and others conducted by Perkins, who received the work under a no-bid contract. The AP obtained the report from a university employee who requested anonymity because the school didn't authorize its disclosure.

University spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said Wednesday the polling helped inform its communications and marketing strategies.