UC Berkeley announces new procedures to combat sexual harassment

Source: UC Berkeley

OAKLAND (BCN) — The University of California announced today that it has imposed new systemwide procedures for responding to alleged sexual misconduct by faculty and staff that provides greater transparency, consistency and timeliness in investigating and adjudicating cases.

University officials said the new procedures for faculty and staff must be implemented at all UC locations no later than Sept. 1. UC officials enacted a similar model for students last year.

“Combined with our ongoing prevention strategies, these clearly-defined frameworks strengthen our procedures for handling sexual misconduct cases and furthering a culture of safety and respect at the University,” UC president Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

Among the new procedures will be the completion of investigations within 60 business days and decisions on discipline within 40 days after that. After an investigation, complainants and respondents will have an opportunity to communicate with the decision-maker about their desired outcome.

For staff members, any discipline proposed by the supervisor of the accused will be reviewed and approved by the chancellor or a chancellor designee. For faculty, a peer review committee on each campus will advise the chancellor or chancellor designee on an appropriate resolution, including discipline.

The new frameworks will also provide clear roles and responsibilities for Title IX offices and other offices involved in the adjudication and discipline of the cases.

University officials said where sexual misconduct is found to have occurred, the additional oversight by the chancellor’s designee in staff cases and the peer review committee in faculty cases will ensure an added level of deliberation and accountability.

To ensure consistency and fairness, the systemwide Title IX office will train all people involved in making decisions in these cases.

The university said the new procedures incorporate recommendations by the Joint Committee of the Administration and Academic Senate, and the President’s Committee on Sexual Violence Sexual Harassment Disciplinary Process for UC Personnel other than Faculty, as accepted by Napolitano.

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