UC Student Association board talks drafting open letter concerning sex violence task force

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The UC Student Association Board of Directors met over the weekend to discuss the drafting of an open letter about concerns with the UC sexual violence task force and review its quarterly meeting with UC President Janet Napolitano.

Two UC Santa Barbara students delivered a presentation Saturday calling on UCSA to help send a letter of concern to the UC Office of the President to address UC students’ chief concerns with the UC President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault. Among the voiced concerns are the task force’s lack of communication, inadequate membership and insufficient resources, according to UCSB junior Jennifer Selvidge.

“We feel that in the task force, student voices and input are not currently being effectively included,” Selvidge said at the meeting.

Napolitano convened the task force — composed of UC regents, survivors, students and faculty, among other individuals — in July 2014 to develop recommendations on the response to and prevention of sexual assault on UC campuses.

According to Selvidge, UC Berkeley and several student groups have already sent letters of concern about the sexual violence task force to UCOP, but there has yet to be a systemwide effort to draft a single letter. She explained that the letter could provide a set of specific suggestions from students to UCOP regarding how to improve the task force.

The UCSA agreed to review the final draft of the letter in its March board meeting after each individual campus has given input on the draft.

A UC spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Additionally at the meeting Saturday, UCSA President Kevin Sabo gave a presentation on UCSA executives’ meeting with Napolitano in January, when they voiced several concerns, including the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, on UC campuses.

Napolitano explained in January that the presence of ICE and border patrol on campuses is beneficial to students who want to go into federal law enforcement. But according to Guillermo Rogel, UCSA board chair, the presence of ICE on campus could negatively affect the lives of undocumented UC students.

“Obviously, we feel that the well-being of 3,500 undocumented students in the UC is more important than potential career aspirations,” Sabo said at the meeting Saturday.

According to Sabo, Napolitano said at the January meeting that she would reflect on the presence of ICE on UC campuses and that she is willing to come out against the ICE raids by declaring they are not in line with the University of California’s values.

The board will next meet from March 5 to 6 at UCLA.

Brenna Smith covers business and the economy. Contact her at [email protected].

A previous version of this article misquoted UCSA President Kevin Sabo as saying that there are 35,000 undocumented students in the UC system. In fact, he said that there are 3,500 undocumented students.