Tuesday, January 28

Sexual assault auditor to meet with UCLA student leaders

Leaders of a student campaign against sexual assault will meet with a California state auditor today to review UCLA’s sexual assault policies and procedures.

The audit will provide a third-party evaluation of UCLA’s compliance with major federal laws, such as Title IX regulations and the Clery Act, on the treatment of sexual assault cases. It will also evaluate the adequacy of educational programs and informational resources available to survivors of sexual assault.

At UCLA, the audit began Jan. 6, said Tod Tamberg, a UCLA spokesman, in an email. As part of the audit, Pamela Thomason, Title IX coordinator, said she met with the state auditor this week.

UCLA and state officials declined to comment further about the audit. Information about an ongoing report is confidential by statute, said Margarita Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the California state auditor.

Savannah Badalich, the Undergraduate Students Association Council Student Wellness Commissioner, third-year world arts and cultures student Claudia Varney and second-year undeclared social sciences student Chrissy Keenan plan to bring testimonials and concrete suggestions to the meeting with the state auditor. Badalich, Varney and Keenan are the heads of 7,000 in Solidarity, a campaign against sexual assault at UCLA, which Badalich launched this school year.

In preparation for Friday’s meeting, Badalich created an anonymousonline survey asking survivors to share their experiences and make suggestions for the auditor.

She will recommend creating a single campus resource center for survivors of sexual assault, requiring sensitivity training for UCLA employees and improving the way assault cases involving alcohol are handled.

Though she has already met with administrators to share her suggestions this school year, Badalich said the audit is a good opportunity for a third party to review the current procedures and make recommendations.

The audit was approved by the California state assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee in August 2013 upon the request of Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood).

The audit will also review policies at UC Berkeley, California State University, Chico and San Diego State University.

After the release of the audit, UCLA is required to report back to the state auditor’s office after 60 days, six months and one year, Fernandez said. The State Auditor will then report to the legislature on whether UCLA and the other audited schools correctly implemented its recommendations.

UCLA began its own internal review of its sexual assault policies and procedures before the audit was announced, Tamberg said in the email. The internal review was meant to determine whether UCLA’s sexual assault policies could be improved.

The estimated release date for the final audit is in April, Fernandez said.

Compiled by Camille von Kaenel, Bruin contributor.

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