To: UCLA Faculty, Staff, and Students
Re: Proposed Revisions to UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
As you may be aware, the University of California (UC) Office of the President has been working diligently to produce a final draft of the Presidential Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. The Policy applies to all University employees, faculty, and students, as well as all UC locations. It raises issues of great importance, and your careful review is strongly encouraged.
Some of the proposed Policy revisions reflect requirements found in:
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), reauthorized by President Obama in 2013, and implementing regulations.
- Final regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education in October 2014 and effective July 2015.
Additionally, proposed revisions to the Policy include the following:
- Incorporates recommendations of the California State auditor Audit Findings and UC President Napolitano’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault to require mandatory education for faculty, other academic appointees, staff and students.
- Reorganizes the Policy for clarity.
- Updates the definition of consent to conform with state law and adds additional definitions to improve readability, consistency and understanding.
- Includes an “immunity” provision for reporting as per California statute for students and applies the immunity possibility for faculty and staff.
- Clarifies that the policy addresses only harassment that is sexual in nature, as required by VAWA.
- Complies with the UC President’s directive to disclose disciplinary actions to complainants.
We invite your attention to this important Policy matter, and would appreciate receiving your comments regarding the proposed changes on or before Monday, October 25, 2015. All comments should be sent to Kathleen Salvaty, Sexual Harassment Prevention Officer and Title IX Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 206-3417. Faculty who wish to do so may instead send their comments directly to Vice Chancellor Carole Goldberg at OVCAP@conet.ucla.edu.
The draft is at http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/tools-and-services/administrators/policies/proposed/shsv.pdf
It continues to contain a preponderance of the evidence standard that can run into trouble - if there are significant penalties entailed - when tested in external courts (especially when a public university in involved). It appears to ban bringing a lawyer or other adviser to hearings under some circumstances unless that individual complaining agrees. And there is some ambiguity about what to do if a someone tells, say, a faculty member about an incident. The rules seem to say the incident must be reported. But when assaults are discussed, the rules seem to suggest that if the victim doesn't want a report to be made, such wishes should be respected. These interpretations - it must be stressed - are those of a non-lawyer, non-expert. We invited comments, particularly from those with legal expertise.