[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
86°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
Sarah Gifford


By Martin Mascias Jr.

LOS ANGELES – University administrators are falling short in their responsibilities to swiftly hold accountable staff and faculty named in sexual violence complaints and align disciplinary policies with federal guidelines, according to a state audit released Thursday of three University of California campuses.

Campuses did not consistently follow federal guidance intended to protect survivors of sexual violence, and failed to effectively analyze complaints data to identify and address trends, the audit found.

State auditors said Thursday that three UC campuses – Los Angeles, Berkeley and Davis – took much longer to discipline faculty in the Academic Senate than they did to discipline staff.

On average, the three campuses disciplined staff within 43 days after the conclusion of an investigation compared to 220 days for faculty in the Academic Senate.

In addition, the audit reported that the three campuses disciplined faculty inconsistently, especially faculty members who were the subjects of multiple sexual harassment complaints.

A 2015 campus climate report prepared for the Association of American Universities surveyed 27 universities and found 21 percent of senior undergraduates had been the victims of non-consensual sexual contact while attending college.

Over the past 10 years, and in 2015 and 2016 in particular, the number of recorded complaints from students claiming sexual harassment by faculty and staff has increased, according to state auditors.

“From 2014 through 2016, the number of these complaints increased from 100 to 205,” the report found.

Part of the increase is due to increased training for university staff and faculty, outreach to students and improved methods for recognizing and reporting sexual violence on campus.

“University students who experience sexual harassment or sexual violence suffer harm to their emotional and physical well‑being, which can also impact their academic performance,” the audit said.

Title IX law requires the university to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment.

“Campus Title IX coordinators, if they had a role in deciding discipline—which they currently do not have—could help the university gain consistency in the discipline it imposes.”

The audit found that the campuses inconsistently followed Title IX guidance in their informal and formal processes to address sexual harassment complaints.

“The three campuses frequently exceeded investigation time frames without obtaining approved time extensions and they often did not send all required information to the complainants and respondents,” the audit said.

In a statement to Courthouse News, UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said the university is working to implement all recommendations made by the California State Auditor.

“We share UC’s and CSA’s commitment to combating and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence on our campus,” Vazquez said. “We will also encourage the Academic Senate to do its part to address the concerns expressed in the audit to ensure that these matters are handled in a timely manner.”

Kimberly Hale, a UC Davis spokesperson said the university has a “strong” Title IX program that is the result of continuous improvements implemented over the past decade.

“We appreciate the feedback and recommendations from the state auditor, which will help us continue to make improvements in our process,” Hale said. “We have been and remain committed to taking immediate and appropriate corrective action when we receive reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence.”

UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said there more work to be done on campus to improve safety and hold faculty, staff and students accountable regarding campus sexual violence.

“We are committed to fostering a campus community where sexual harassment and sexual violence are not tolerated,” Gilmore said, adding that the CSA review period – between 2007 and 2016 – did not account for recent changes in policy at Berkeley.

“The campus has made a number of important changes since 2016 including the creation of the campus Peer Review Committee to help ensure greater consistency in faculty disciplinary cases and the launch of the MyVoice survey to further guide our prevention and response efforts,” Gilmore said.

An estimated 5.7 million Californians experience intimate partner violence annually, according a April 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report offered a series of solutions to sexual and intimate partner violence such as teaching young couples about forms of abuse, teaching bystander intervention training to interrupt sexual violence in public and normalization of boys and men as allies against sexual violence.

“The intent is to make the prevention of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence everyone’s concern rather than solely a women’s issue,” the report states.

Social service groups and state health agencies should embrace a “trauma-informed” approach to care, the CDC report said, which factors in the ways that a child’s exposure to violence and abuse can shape their behavior as adults in negative ways.

A February 2018 report by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault found that college students have the highest self-reported rate of rape and other forms of sexual assault.

Government spending on healthcare and other services for college survivors of sexual violence was much less compared to other categories of survivors.

In 2012, 5.1 percent of college students were raped or sexually assaulted in California, and government spending was $1,070 per college student survivor, the report found. Five times as much was spent per incident of sexual violence against military personnel.

This is critical, the report said, since not all health effects are immediately apparent, such as deteriorating mental and emotional health, which may “arise many years later, and may occur across the lifespan.”

The report also found that the tangible costs of sexual violence in California, including medical and mental health care, prevention, investigation, treatment and lost work productivity totaled over $140 billion.

“This translates to an average of $3,700 for each resident of California per year,” the report said. “Prevention programs would lead to substantial cost savings.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s website lists resources for survivors of sexual violence as well as a summary of relevant campus sexual violence prevention legislation and relevant training materials for university staff and police.

The University of California Office of the President established a systemwide Title IX office in February 2017 with a goal to implement a consistent and coordinated response to complaints of sexual harassment.

To make the office more effective, the state auditors said, it needs to define consistency in the accountability process and provide the office the necessary authority to achieve it.

“The systemwide office should play a central role in…setting policy, analyzing applicable data, and overseeing the campuses,” the audit said.

The report states that although university administrators have been aware of issues with delays in responses to sexual harassment complaints, it must do more to “stop, prevent, and remedy sexual harassment” at its campuses.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
    LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
    Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019
    SACRAMENTO - High school students now have an expanded opportunity to enroll in summer community college courses, thanks to a bill authored by Assemblywoman Christy Smith signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
    Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019
    California State University, Northridge will host Family Education Day, a daylong celebration focused on providing educational resources for thousands of youth and families, on Saturday, Oct. 26.
    Monday, Oct 14, 2019
    Thanks to the efforts of California Senator Scott Wilk and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, College of the Canyons received $397,000 in state funding necessary to begin planning much-needed renovations to Boykin Hall.
    Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019
    California State University, Northridge’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will host its Richard Smith Lecture Series on Thursday, Oct. 24, featuring a presentation by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.
    Monday, Oct 7, 2019
    The fall 2019 Star Party at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus on Friday evening, Oct. 25 will be doubly significant as it coincides with the college’s 50th anniversary and Apollo 11’s historic moon landing.
    Keep Up With Our Facebook

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a motion by Board Chair Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda Solis to assess and address the specific needs of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals experiencing homelessness in the county.
    County to Assess American Indian, Alaska Native Homelessness
    A water main break in Valencia caused lane closures and traffic delays as crews work to stop water from spilling onto the streets Wednesday.
    Water Main Break Shuts Down Eastbound Newhall Ranch Road
    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to provide recommendations for how to modify county ordinances to grant the Sheriff's Civilian Oversight Commission subpoena power through the Office of Inspector General.
    Supes Seek Subpoena Power for Oversight of Sheriff’s Department
    AVITA Medical, a regenerative medicine company with a technology platform positioned to address unmet medical needs in therapeutic skin restoration, announced that its American Depositary Shares (“ADS”) have been approved to list on the Nasdaq Capital Market, or Nasdaq.
    AVITA Medical Now Listed on Nasdaq
    Thirty-two features have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 92nd Academy Awards.
    32 Animated Features to Vie for 2019 Oscar
    The deadline for poets to submit poems for the city of Santa Clarita's 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Project is Thursday, Oct. 31.
    Oct. 31: Deadline to Submit Poems for 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Project
    For the first time since the Santa Clarita-based firm was founded in 1998, a third partner’s name is becoming part of the official name of the firm as Poole & Shaffery becomes Poole Shaffery & Koegle, LLP.
    Poole & Shaffrey Add Partner Koegle to Law Firm’s Name
    As part of the 26th Annual National Public Lands Day, Saddleback Butte State Park is leading a habitat cleanup on Saturday, October 26 from 8 a.m. to noon, and officials invite local residents to pitch in.
    Oct. 26: Saddleback Butte Cleanup on National Public Lands Day
    The William S. Hart Union High School District’s governing board is set to discuss a letter addressing allegations of an open-meeting law violation with respect to its recent search for a new superintendent.
    Hart District to Discuss Letter on Superintendent Search, Transparency
    The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Saddleridge Fire area in the Angeles National Forest for the safety of the public and fire suppression personnel, officials said Wednesday.
    Saddleridge Blaze 46% Contained, Forest Service Closes Fire Area
    Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean joined other local officials from across the Southland to commemorate the signing of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan in Arcadia on Thursday, October 10.
    McLean, Officials Meet to Sign San Gabriel Mountains Monument Plan
    SCV Water officials hammering out a plan to manage groundwater are still accepting applications for the agency’s seven-member advisory group.
    Water Heads Find Groundwater Advisers, Still Accepting Applications
    SCV Water and its water-banking partners, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District and Irvine Ranch Water District, recently opened six new groundwater wells and a conveyance system to the Cross Valley Canal in Kern County.
    SCV Water, Partners Add 6 Wells in Kern County
    Through a $700,000 federal grant, the California Highway Patrol has developed the Get Educated and Ride Safe II campaign, or GEARS II, to promote motorcycle safety and awareness.
    CHP Wins $700K Grant for GEARS Motorcycle Safety Program
    California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Los Angeles County-sponsored Assembly Bill 539 into law on Thursday, taking a major step in protecting borrowers from predatory high-cost loans.
    Californians Gain Protections from Predatory Loans
    Recognizing California’s fiscal health, Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded California’s outstanding general obligation bonds credit rating to Aa2 from Aa3.
    Moody’s Upgrades California’s Credit Rating
    1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
    Sarah Gifford
    The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC) meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Oct. 16: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
    Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai announced she will retire as top administrative leader of the nation’s largest municipal government in early 2020, capping a 31-year career leading innovation and managing solutions to some of the region’s most challenging issues.
    County CEO Caps 31-Year Career; Announces 2020 Retirement
    Valencia-based Lief Labs, a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements, is pleased to announce that Lief’s rank has risen to 1,022 on the Inc. 5000 definitive ranking of America’s fastest-growing, privately held companies.
    Lief Labs Joins List of America’s Fastest-Growing, Privately Held Companies
    The community is invited to The Ranch at Fair Oaks for a fall yard sale.
    Nov. 2: Fair Oaks Community Association Fall Yard Sale
    The city of Santa Clarita will host the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill at City facilities on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m. to help train community members on how to properly drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake.
    Residents Encouraged to Participate in Great California ShakeOut
    For the second time in as many years, The Master's University women's swim team wasted no time qualifying a pair of relays for NAIA nationals.
    Lady Mustangs Swim Team Qualifies for Nationals
    SAN DIMAS - College of the Canyons remained undefeated on the season while winning its 15th straight Western State Conference (WSC) tourney with a four-player score of 316 at San Dimas Canyon Golf Course on Monday.
    Lady Cougars Win 15th Straight Western State Conference Tourney
    %d bloggers like this: