Campus news

UC Berkeley announces a $2.5 million supplemental investment to strengthen response to sexual violence and sexual harassment

By Public Affairs

After a rapid review of critical gaps in its sexual harassment training, awareness, reporting and disciplinary units, UC Berkeley announced today that it will make immediate investments in its Title IX and Student Conduct Offices, as well as in key units that provide support to survivors and training and prevention programs.

The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD), which handles Title IX complaints, will add administrative and operational support and three additional fulltime investigators to shorten the time of investigations of cases.

Seven new positions with also be added to the Office of Student Conduct and the campus Human Resources department, which manage and support manager resolution and discipline of staff and student complaints when findings of policy violations are identified.

“This investment is overdue,” said Carla Hesse, the recently appointed interim campus lead for sexual violence and sexual harassment. “It is not unexpected to see an increase in cases and reporting as our campus works to change the culture of reporting and support. These resources will assist us in addressing the backlog of work and address potential future needs.”

In addition, four positions will be added to the CARE Advocates unit and University Health Services to immediately begin expanding prevention, training programs and support services for survivors.

To insure that faculty, staff and students receive training and support that meets or exceeds national standards in higher education, $300,000 additional funding will be also be allocated for program and operational support to several campus units. In the coming weeks, the campus will roll out new in-person training for all senior academic and administrative staff and launch new awareness and training programs for all students, staff and faculty in the fall.

“Though there is clearly much work ahead of us, we hope that these additional and ongoing investments will make a significant impact for UC Berkeley, and that it will put us back on track to become a national leader in this area,” said Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. “While the campus is facing significant financial challenges the safety and well-being of all members of our community must be our highest priority. It is, in fact, a non-negotiable priority.”

The campus also announced the full membership of its newly constituted Chancellor’s Committee on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment . Co-chaired by Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ and Campus Lead Carla Hesse, the committee — comprised of faculty, students and staff — is charged to conduct a comprehensive review of all campus units that are charged with the prevention and training programs, survivor support services, as well as complaint resolution and sanctioning.

Working in alignment with the UC systemwide task force on sexual harassment and sexual assault it will make recommendations to the UC Office of the President and the chancellor’s office this fall about appropriate reforms to campus policies and procedures, with the aim of greater efficiency, transparency and fairness in complaint resolution and sanctioning for all campus constituencies.

“The campus must build a new consensus about how best to handle abuses of power in our community,” said Hesse. “Over the summer the committee will convene a series of ‘working groups’ to mobilize campus professionals, partner with Academic Senate leaders, student and community groups and other key campus experts and stakeholders such as the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures and the Chancellor’s Coordinated Community Review Team to produce greater clarification of our benchmarks for best practices and recommendations for their implementation.”