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UC launches new systemwide faculty, staff procedures to address sexual harassment and sexual violence

On July 1, UC announced new systemwide procedures for investigating, adjudicating and determining sanctions in sexual harassment and sexual violence cases that involve faculty and staff.

These new procedures, which campuses must locally implement by no later than Sept. 1, follow the systemwide model UC issued last year for cases involving students. Both are part of UC’s ongoing comprehensive strategy to more effectively prevent and respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment, and reinforce in every member of the UC community a shared responsibility in fostering a culture of safety and respect.

The new procedures for cases involving faculty and staff will increase consistency and transparency across the UC system, and aim to ensure a timely and appropriate resolution to these cases by:

  • Clearly defining roles and responsibilities for the Title IX offices, and other offices involved in adjudication and discipline to ensure consistency in how reports are investigated and adjudicated systemwide.
  • Setting timeframes so that investigations are completed within 60 business days, and subsequent disciplinary decisions are made within 40 business days.
  • Requiring that the chancellor (or his or her designee) engage the campus peer review committee to advise on appropriate sanctions, if an investigation finds that a faculty member violated the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. If the case involves a staff member, any decision on discipline will be reviewed and approved by a chancellor’s designee. UC’s systemwide Title IX office is working with Title IX officers and other campus personnel to ensure appropriate guidance and training for those who are responsible for handling these cases.
  • Notifying the person filing a report and the person responding to allegations of the results of any investigation and decisions on discipline, and giving both the opportunity to comment before any discipline is determined.

“These new models increase transparency and consistency, and should improve our ability to promptly and effective respond to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence,” said Kathleen Salvaty, systemwide Title IX coordinator. “We’ll continue to evaluate these new procedures and all of our practices over time to make sure they are effective.”

Since 2014 when President Janet Napolitano formed a task force to evaluate the university’s procedures, UC has moved quickly to implement a series of strategic measures to strengthen its processes and practices. These include:

  • Implementing mandatory sexual violence prevention education and training for all new students, faculty and staff. Continuing students, faculty and staff are required to participate in ongoing education and training.
  • Establishing a “CARE: Advocate Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Misconduct” on each campus with a trained confidential advocate to provide support and advocacy to students who have experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment. These confidential and independent offices have now expanded to serve staff and faculty on most campuses.
  • Ensuring every campus provides support services to UC community members accused of sexual violence by having a designated individual to help respondents understand their rights and UC’s investigation and adjudication processes.
  • Implementing a new systemwide model for investigating, adjudicating and applying sanctions in cases of sexual violence and sexual harassment that involve students.
  • Establishing the Systemwide Peer Review Committee, responsible for reviewing and approving all sanctions that involve a senior university leader including chancellors, deans and athletic coaches.
  • Issuing a systemwide Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment that prohibits sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking and sexual harassment and sets forth procedures for response. The university adopted an affirmative consent standard that defines consent as conscious, voluntary and revocable, before the California affirmative consent bill became law.
  • Creating a systemwide website designed to serve as a user-friendly, one-stop portal for quick access to campus resources and important information. In addition, key information such as how to get help and reporting options is standardized on all campus sexual violence websites.
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