UC task force presents initial recommendations to fight sexual violence on campuses

The President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault today (Sept. 17) released seven key recommendations that form the foundation of a systemwide model to effectively address sexual violence throughout the University of California.

The initial report to President Janet Napolitano, who established the task force in June 2014, was presented for discussion at the UC Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus. The report broadly covers prevention, education, advocacy, and response and reporting. A second report, Phase II, will further define details on implementation.

“This excellent effort by the task force and its affiliated working groups is testament to the collaborative and rigorous approach the university is taking to become the national leader in preventing and combating sexual violence and sexual assault,” Napolitano said. “We seek to establish a culture of trust and safety across the entire university community.”

The task force’s recommendations include the following:

  • Create a consistent “response team” model at all campuses by January 2015
  • Adopt systemwide investigation and adjudication standards by July 2015
  • Develop a comprehensive training and education plan with timelines from fall 2014 to fall 2015
  • Implement a comprehensive communication strategy to educate the community and raise awareness about UC programs by January 2015
  • Establish an independent “confidential advocacy office” for sexual violence and sexual assault on each campus by January 2015
  • Establish a comprehensive systemwide website with campus customization capabilities by January 2015
  • Implement a standard data set systemwide by July 2015

While all 10 UC campuses currently have systems in place to educate, prevent and respond to sexual violence, the charge of the task force was to identify gaps and inconsistencies and recommend solutions. Earlier this year, the university significantly broadened and clarified its policy against sexual violence and harassment, including domestic violence, stalking and date rape. The university adopted an affirmative consent standard that defines consent as unambiguous, voluntary, informed and revocable. The affirmative consent bill now on the governor’s desk mirrors that standard.

The 29-member presidential task force, led by Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance and Audit Officer Sheryl Vacca, includes UC regents, survivors of sexual assault and their advocates, students, faculty, police and other administrative staff. Including the members of the five work groups, more than 100 people were actively involved in researching and crafting the task force recommendations.