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UCLA Title IX compliance investigation seeks student participation

By Darakhsha Siddiqi

April 28, 2015 1:53 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is visiting UCLA Tuesday through Thursday to investigate the university’s compliance with Title IX.

Title IX is a federal provision that prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational institutions, such as universities that receive federal funding.

The OCR has initiated Title IX investigations at more than 100 universities nationwide, including UCLA. The office is specifically investigating universities’ responses to incidents of sexual violence such as rape and sexual assault, as Title IX requires that universities take steps to prevent and respond effectively to incidents of sexual violence.

The OCR will hold dozens of student focus groups of 15 to 20 students, each group representing a different demographic. The groups will discuss UCLA’s policies, procedures and resources related to sexual violence and harassment and students’ experiences. The sessions will be anonymous.

The office will also meet with students individually.

In an email, UCLA said it plans to cooperate fully with the OCR. UCLA said its role will be to facilitate the office’s visit by publicizing the event to students and reserving rooms for focus group meetings. UCLA staff will not be present at these meetings.

Savannah Badalich, founder of the 7000 in Solidarity campaign against sexual assault and the Undergraduate Students Association Council Student Wellness commissioner, said UCLA reached out to her for help in letting students know about the focus groups.

“This is the first step for survivors who feel betrayed by the university, and the university is acknowledging this fact and wants to do right,” Badalich said.

Badalich also said she thinks a challenge may be getting students to attend the focus groups. She said she thinks that students should come to these meetings and voice their opinions.

Students can drop in for a specific focus group or an individual office hour. They can also contact the office at (415) 486-5555 or by emailing [email protected].

Compiled by Darakhsha Siddiqi, Bruin contributor.

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