UC Berkeley Announces New Steps To Stop Screwing Up Sex Assault Cases

The University of California, Berkeley will set up a review board to ensure that it issues appropriate sanctions for sexual assault and harassment cases involving staff and faculty on campus.

Nicholas Dirks, the school’s chancellor, announced the review board and several other steps in a campus-wide email on Thursday. The university plans to organize a half-day event filled with teach-ins and seminars about sexual violence, and will make additional hires in offices that provide counseling and health services to sexual assault victims.

Cal will also establish a new “Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Task Force” in April and hire more people to staff its Office for Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment to resolve sexual violence cases more efficiently, Dirks’ email said.

The university is currently under a Title IX investigation by the Department of Education and faces a related lawsuit that claims it mishandled sexual assault cases involving students.

We have heard the salient message: there is much work to be done.
Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of UC Berkeley

In the 2015-16 academic year, Cal was rocked by sexual harassment allegations against faculty, and came under criticism for lax sanctions handed down by school administrators.

Sujit Choudhry stepped down as the law school dean this month after a lawsuit stated the university found him in violation of its sexual harassment policy. His punishment was a 10 percent pay cut for one year, and Provost Claude Steele ordered him to get counseling.

Famed astronomer Geoff Marcy resigned last fall after news reports revealed the school found him guilty of sexual harassment, but let him off with a slap on the wrist.

And earlier this month, Cal moved to fire an assistant basketball coach who reportedly harassed a female reporter, and is now investigating whether the head coach delayed reporting —> Read More