SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California Board of Regents announced at a meeting Thursday it will mandate additional sexual assault response and prevention training for UC students, faculty and staff.
The new policies require mandatory training for all students and include a standardized investigation process and standardized judgement decisions, as well as more thorough support in response to each incident with additional resources. The new training will include more expansive ideas beyond what is currently taught at freshman orientation.
The shift in policy came from recommendations by the President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault.
Beginning in fall, all incoming UC students will be required to attend an educational program at their respective campuses for the first six weeks. Starting in 2016, the training will be held during the summer.
Beginning in January, UC staff and faculty members will be required to attend similar training. The lessons will focus on six main ideas, including a clear definition of sexual violence and ways to prevent it. Returning students will also receive additional training.
By September, all nine UC campuses will have their own respondent support coordinator, who will be responsible for helping both parties in a sexual assault case know their rights and will direct the accused to legal resources.
The UC created a confidential advocate’s office on each campus in January for survivors, although this office will be distinct from the respondent support coordinator. It also established a streamlined website to help both survivors and the accused.
UC President Janet Napolitano said a large part of handling sexual violence is ensuring the student disciplinary process is fair to all sides.
Sheryl Vacca, senior vice president and chief compliance and audit officer at the UC Office of the President who led the task force, said she thinks the UC should have a consistent approach toward investigations and the student adjudication process, but that it is difficult to change institutional culture while meeting the training needs of such a wide audience.
In January, the UC also began to measure effectiveness of sexual assault prevention and care programs by collecting data from sexual violence cases and information from University response services, Vacca added.
Compiled by Jillian Frankel, Bruin senior staff.