Campus & community, Campus news

Chancellor announces new committee on sexual violence, harassment and assault

Sather Gate

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks today announced the formation of the Chancellor’s Committee on Sexual Violence, Harassment and Assault.

The committee will examine and address culture issues and review and make recommendations for improving all campus services, policies and practices relating to the prevention, remediation, adjudication, and sanctioning of sexual violence, harassment and assault against students, staff and faculty on the UC Berkeley campus.

The committee’s work will be overseen by the Dean of Social Sciences and Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science Carla Hesse, who was recently selected as interim lead for the campus’s overall efforts to address sexual violence, harassment and assault. Carol Christ, director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education and former president of Smith College, will serve as committee co-chair. Christ also served as UC Berkeley’s executive vice chancellor and provost from 1994 until 2000.

The work of the committee will begin next week, and it will report its recommendations to the UC president and chancellor by Oct. 15, 2016.

The following distinguished external advisers have agreed to assist with campus efforts to address sexual violence, harassment and assault:

  • Mary Sue Coleman, past president of University of Michigan
  • Ruth Simmons, past president of Brown University
  • Robert Post, dean of the Yale School of Law

The committee, which will consist of faculty and staff, will be supported by a student advisory committee comprised of eight representatives of student organizations including representatives from the Graduate Assembly, the Associated Students of the University of California and other relevant student groups.

The formation of this committee is one of many initiatives the chancellor recently announced. These include strengthening prevention and education efforts through more comprehensive programming that targets the entire campus community; providing survivors with more timely access to support services through expanded staffing and additional resources; and creating more efficient and consistent investigation and disciplinary processes through additional staffing and oversight.

The full set of initiatives is available online (

As Chancellor Dirks stated in his March 24, 2016, letter to the campus community: “We have an obligation to promote a campus culture in which sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking and any abuse of power are neither tolerated nor ignored, but proactively prevented. We are committed to ensuring that Berkeley is a welcoming, safe, respectful and inclusive community for every one of our students, staff, faculty and visitors.”