Thursday, October 17

Napolitano forms UC task force to address sexual assault prevention


University of California President Janet Napolitano announced Friday that she has formed a systemwide task force to better address sexual violence prevention on UC campuses.

The task force, which has already met, is evaluating the UC’s current policies on sexual violence prevention and deciding what needs to be tweaked, said Dianne Klein, a UC spokeswoman.

“The task force is just an added assurance that we are doing everything we can to address sexual assaults on campus,” Klein said. “(Napolitano) believes the problem is not going to solve itself.”

The task force includes about 20 members, including representatives from campus police, victim advocacy groups, campus Title IX officers, administrators, two regents, Bonnie Reiss and Karen Leong Clancy, as well as three students.

The task force also includes three members from the UCLA community. Savannah Badalich, the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Student Wellness commissioner; James D. Herren, UCLA chief of police; and Pamela Thomason, Title IX officer at UCLA, will sit in the task force.

Although the number of students in the task force is limited, members are working consistently with students to try to address their concerns and find the best way to combat the problem, Klein said.

Because there are many elements to the issue, Klein said solving the problem of sexual assault on college campuses is not a “quick fix.”

UCLA and UC Berkeley are currently undergoing a state audit of their sexual assault policies. The results of the audit, which was ordered in August by the state legislature, are scheduled to be released Tuesday. In February, students in UC Berkeley filed a Title IX complaint against the university alleging it did not adequately respond to reports of sexual violence.

The UC updated its policy against sexual and domestic violence in March to comply with the Violence Against Women Act passed last year. The new policy includes specific sanctions the UC may impose on those who committed the violence, as well as more specific definitions of terms related to sexual violence.

This action also comes after the U.S. Department of Education proposed several new regulations on sexual assault on Thursday. The regulations would require universities to compile statistics for dating violence and detail their sexual violence prevention and awareness programs.

Klein said the task force plans to meet regularly through teleconferences at least every two to three weeks as well as in person in July and August.

Compiled by Jeong Park, Bruin senior staff.

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