Students demonstrate in opposition to UC Berkeley’s handling of national conference on campus sexual violence

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The ASUC Sexual Assault Commission led a silent display Tuesday in opposition to certain aspects of a national conference on campus sexual assault and violence hosted by UC Berkeley.

Starting Tuesday and continuing Wednesday at the Berkeley DoubleTree Hotel, the conference included higher education researchers, students and experts who discussed the effectiveness of various policies in dealing with sexual assault cases on campus. Some student advocates, though, have criticized the event for lacking sufficient student involvement and being inaccessible.

During a panel discussion at the conference on ensuring a fair process for sexual misconduct investigations, students with duct tape over their mouths surrounded the perimeter of the room, holding signs of survivor testimonies that pointed to the insensitive treatment they had received throughout the handling of their sexual assault cases.

According to UC Berkeley junior Meghan Warner, the commission’s director and co-chair of Greeks Against Sexual Assault, some students in the ASUC were involved in the planning of the conference, but these students were neither involved in the sexual assault commission nor were they publicly identified survivors of assault. She also said that the distance to the DoubleTree hotel, located about 4 miles from campus, and the fact that many students are studying for midterms made much of the conference inaccessible to students.

“There are aspects of the conference that are really positive, such as the workshop by Jaclyn Friedman. There have been aspects that have been really horrible,” Warner said. “It clearly wasn’t focused on survivors.”

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said, however, that students were involved in the planning of the conference and that 100 seats were set aside for students. Half of these seats were reserved for UC Berkeley students specifically, who were given discounted tickets at a $20 rate.

Currently, campus policies for preventing sexual assault include the Bear Pact orientation program for all incoming students and Haven, an online learning program about sexual violence, according to the campus’s sexual assault prevention and response website. Students who do not complete these requirements are subject to registration blocks the following semester.

Members of the ASUC Sexual Assault Commission solidified their plans for Tuesday’s demonstration approximately two weeks ago, according to Warner.

A similar display is planned for Wednesday evening during a closing keynote speech by Anita Hill, an attorney who testified in 1991 that she was sexually harassed by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Warner said the display, which will be put on the steps of Wheeler Hall, will feature survivors’ testimony about interactions with administration, other officials and friends.

The campus is currently under investigation for its handling of sexual assault and harassment cases, following a complaint filed by 31 current and former UC Berkeley students who alleged that the campus violated Title IX, a federal law that prevents sex-based discrimination in education programs.

“For (the campus) to act as a role model in this conference is insulting,” said UC Berkeley senior Sofie Karasek, who has spearheaded multiple complaints against the campus and is a member of the ASUC Sexual Assault Commission.

With the exception of the closing keynote address, the conference is not open to the media. Wednesday’s events include panels on rape culture on campuses, the emerging prevalence of student activists and a video message from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Contact Ivana Saric at [email protected].

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  • Reason

    It’s simple then. It is time for men to protest in response to this atrocity of justice in kind by falsely charging each and every one of these protesters, supporters and admins with sexual assault. The tipping point has been reached: it is now literally wrong to do the right thing. I’m talking enough false charges that the administration would have to negotiate in order to protect real victims of on-campus sexual assault.

    Now wait, is it fair to have a protest that interferes with real charges? Yes. In act it is a must. Because real charges belong in real courts with real perpetrators, real victims, real witnesses, real evidence and DUE PROCESS.

  • Flo

    Feminists believe every man is guilty just if a woman accuses him of
    anything…therefore they protest men’s human rights since men are not
    human… they don’t have a vagina they are anything but humans… they
    are men… and only women are people.

  • disqus_ArQv6e31it

    proves just how far the insanity and injustice of feminism has gone. What took
    centuries to build, and millions of lives to protect in wars against tyrants
    and totalitarian states, is deemed insensitive by feminists so we should revert
    to lynch mobs and anarchy. The sickness of feminism knows no bounds.

    • BlueAmethyst

      Anarchist ideology states the state is illegitimate because it uses force and coercion to get it’s way. As modern feminism is based on fraud, and the state’s power, it’s literally worse than anarchy. The term you’re looking for is totalitarianism.

  • Benzion

    When did “progressive” become synonymous with “lynch mob”?

    • Jack Strawb

      It hasn’t, of course, except in the popular mind. Many progressives, though, have a lot to answer for in allowing authoritarian feminism to increasingly dictate the progressive agenda.

    • Anti_Femastasis

      When did “progressive” become synonymous with “lynch mob”?

      Since women:

  • La Cabesa Roja

    Wait, so they’re upset by the prospect of fair procedures? Why is anyone taking these people seriously again?

  • Mike Hunt

    Rape or sexual assault is a matter concerning the victim, perp, and police/DA. Can someone please explain what business the university has in getting involved?

    • The standards of evidence are lower for university conduct hearings. It’s far easier to ruin someone’s life over a she said/he said situation here then in real court where you actually have to prove things.

      • Junky

        its only a matter of time before they start using college “conviction” statistics to make policy for everyone.
        it wont stop before men are less than 5% of grads….