4-year federal investigation finds that UC Berkeley violated Title IX policies, offers recommendations

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Updated 2/28/2018 to include information from the full Office for Civil Rights report. 

UC Berkeley entered into a Resolution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, after a four-year investigation regarding the campus’s handling of sexual misconduct cases, according to a campuswide message from Chancellor Carol Christ.

The investigation was opened after 31 former and then-current UC Berkeley students filed two federal complaints against the campus in February 2014, one as a Clery Act complaint and the other as a Title IX complaint with the OCR. The OCR investigation found that the campus’s policies and procedures were in violation of Title IX, and the report details what the campus needs to improve in the coming years in order to address the OCR’s concerns.

In her campuswide message, Christ said the Resolution Agreement includes a two-year monitoring period, during which the campus will have to report to the OCR on how the policies have changed. She also noted that the campus has been creating new policies and procedures to improve sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention and responses since 2012.

Over the last several years, we have expanded support services for the frontline offices whose staff address sexual violence and sexual harassment,” Christ said in the email. “This includes the PATH to Care Center, the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (Title IX),  University Health Services, and the Center for Student Conduct. We have also strengthened our prevention and education efforts for faculty, staff and students.”

The Resolution Agreement, which is public, includes the campus’s reporting requirements to the OCR and a few policy recommendations, such as sexual harassment and violence training for graduate students.

Other improvements mentioned in the campuswide email is the development of the position of special faculty adviser to the chancellor on sexual violence/sexual harassment, which was created to support sexual misconduct prevention and response efforts.

“We would like to thank those professional staff members who spent countless hours assisting OCR in their review of our documents and their understanding of our processes and procedures,” Christ said in the email. “To those same professionals — as well as other staff, faculty and students — we also extend our deepest gratitude for their work creating and implementing new policies for this campus. That work continues.”

Sakura Cannestra is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.