The University of California announced today (July 23) that it will implement additional measures to respond to and prevent sexual violence on campuses, including mandatory training for all students, standardized investigation and student adjudication processes, and more support for students responding to charges.

In an update to the UC Board of Regents, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance and Audit Officer Sheryl Vacca said UC is working diligently to effectively address sexual violence and ensure consistency across the system as part of the President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault.

The task force, led by Vacca, issued seven recommendations in 2014, which the university is in the process of implementing. The task force later added an eighth recommendation.

The university began implementing the task force’s recommendations in January, including creating a full-time confidential advocate’s office for survivors on each campus, implementing a standardized two-team response and prevention model at all campuses for addressing sexual violence, and launching a new systemwide website that provides quick access to campus resources and other important information.

New measures include:

  • Mandatory systemwide education and training: Starting in fall 2015, UC will require all students to participate in education and training to expand their understanding of sexual violence and prevention. Incoming students will be required to participate in UC’s systemwide curriculum by taking the education and training program at their campus within the first six weeks of class. Campuses will use multiple tools to deliver the curriculum to ensure that students understand the core concepts. Beginning in fall 2016, incoming students will receive education that starts before they arrive on campus. 

Continuing students will participate in ongoing education and training during the year that will revisit the curriculum they learned as incoming students, and cover additional concepts.

A systemwide training program for faculty and staff is expected to be implemented by January 2016.  Training for students, staff and faculty will be based around six common core concepts, including trauma-informed response and bystander intervention.

  • Providing fair support services to respondents in cases involving alleged sexual violence or sexual assault. The task force agreed that both parties in these cases should have access to a fair process. As a result, designated individuals at every campus will be available to help respondents understand their rights and the university’s investigation and student adjudication processes. By September 2015, all campuses will have a respondent support coordinator, who will be able to refer those who are accused to campus and community resources as needed.

In January, UC established a confidential advocate’s office on every campus for survivors.  There will be a clear separation between the confidential advocate’s office and the respondent support coordinator on each campus.

  • Measuring effectiveness: UC has begun collecting a standard set of data across all campuses on sexual violence reports and the use of campus programs and resources. The university will use the data to assess the effectiveness of its services and identify areas for improvement.

In addition to these recently enacted measures, new systemwide standards for investigation and student adjudication processes, including sanctions, are expected to be finalized this September and implemented in January 2016.

UC campuses have long had programs and services in place to educate students, faculty and staff and to respond to sexual violence. The task force’s recommendations aim to strengthen those services and ensure consistency across all UC campuses.

A copy of the July Milestones report presented at the UC Board of Regents meeting may be accessed here: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/july15/e1attach.pdf.