Target: University of California President, Janet Napolitano
Goal: Support greater expansion and enforcement of sexual assault policies on university campuses
The latest in University of California (UC) policy aims to protect victims of sexual assault. Instead of receiving information only about the punishment assailants would receive, victims of sexual assault will be able to know the recommended sanctions on their assailants. Under the expanded policy, UC campuses will also have to report all alleged instances of sexual assault as well as instances of discrimination based on gender expression or sexual orientation. Two crucial revisions come in the form of a clearer definition of consent and mandatory sexual harassment and rape prevention training for employees and students.
A primarily “good-faith” effort, the move is in keeping with revised federal policy, which requires UC to ensure more accurate reporting of serious crimes occurring on and around campus, including sexual assault. With these new guidelines, UC is also responding to numerous federal complaints students have filed as a result of their universities’ alleged mishandling of sexual assault cases.
Still, the new policies exhibit crucial shortcomings. Revisions lack any requirement for formal investigations into sexual assault cases, instead recommending so-called early resolutions which can speed up the adjudication process to the detriment of the victim. Formal investigations can prevent such rushed adjudication by preventing people from dropping cases easily.
Fortunately, UC has made it clear that these revisions may be adapted according to public feedback and newly adopted federal or state laws. Please sign the petition below and urge the University of California to go beyond just complying with federal mandates. Students and faculty alike need better protection, and we must raise our voices to bring it to them.
Dear President Napolitano,
I am writing in regards to the revised University of California policies on sexual assault. As you are aware, the expanded policies strengthen protections for victims of sexual assault and improve administrative handling of sexual assault cases. The revisions carry various advancements including a clearer definition of consent, but still leave sexual assault victims vulnerable to various administrative and legal discrepancies.
I urge you to lead the way in making UC policy on sexual assault even stronger. With key revisions underway, we now have the opportunity to do better by our university communities. Requiring formal investigations rather than the early resolutions that rush through the adjudication process presents one plan of action. Changing our policy approach to this serious issue helps us begin to change the culture that allows sexually-based violence to persist. Your actions are crucial to ensuring the world-renowned University of California communities are safe and accepting of all members.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: The GMAT Project via newgmat.org