BERKELEY (KRON) — UC Berkeley officials said the university is addressing the problem of sexual harassment on campus following several high profile cases recently reported.
On Monday, the university announced that it will spend $2.5 million for training and other programs to combat the problem of sexual harassment on campus.
“This investment is overdue,” said Carla Hesse, the recently appointed interim campus lead for sexual violence and sexual harassment. “It is not unexpected to see an increase in cases and reporting as our campus works to change the culture of reporting and support. These resources will assist us in addressing the backlog of work and address potential future needs.”
And several cases of inappropriate student behavior have also been brought to light.
The university says 19 staff members have been investigated for sexual harassment since 2011. Eleven terminations resulted but other staffers were disciplined and remain on the job.
Officials decided that something needed to be done and said the money will be used to improve investigations of sexual harassment and raise awareness of the problem.
“Though there is clearly much work ahead of us, we hope that these additional and ongoing investments will make a significant impact for UC Berkeley, and that it will put us back on track to become a national leader in this area,” Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said. “While the campus is facing significant financial challenges the safety and well-being of all members of our community must be our highest priority. It is, in fact, a non-negotiable priority.”
Women on campus applauded the move as a good first step.
“I think that at all levels people need to speak up if there is something that even has a whiff of impropriety,” student Angela Arnold said.
The first training sessions are scheduled to start in a few weeks.