‘A much needed addition’: UC Title IX coordinator Kathleen Salvaty serves successful 1st year

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One year after her appointment as the UC’s first systemwide Title IX coordinator, Kathleen Salvaty is leading the effort to ensure that UC campuses maintain consistent handling of sexual misconduct cases and continue sexual violence and sexual harassment prevention efforts.

Salvaty, who was appointed in January 2017, helped to implement a systemwide procedural framework to handle alleged sexual misconduct cases against faculty and staff. She also worked with various stakeholders to maintain consistency in the implementation of procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct against students.

Salvaty’s other efforts have included partnering with various Campus Assault Resources Education, or CARE, offices and developing systemwide prevention education training. She also recently convened a Title IX student advisory board, which consists of an undergraduate and a graduate student from each UC campus, to solicit student feedback.

“Procedures and policies on some level are under constant review. We want to hear what people think is working and what is not,” Salvaty said. “It is a systemwide policy. It can’t be changed overnight and I can’t just decide to change it, but certainly we want input into what we think should change and whether or not it’s time.”

Salvaty listed two main priorities for the upcoming year — reviewing UC policies and procedures regarding sexual violence and continuing to develop “best practices in prevention efforts.” UCOP spokesperson Claire Doan added that the systemwide Title IX office will work with the student advisory board to solicit feedback about sexual violence policies and procedures in the coming months.

Sophie Bandarkar, UC Berkeley’s undergraduate student representative on the Title IX student advisory board, said she was confident in the feedback she has received after interacting with Salvaty in the most recent student advisory board meeting.

“Kathleen and her team were very receptive, facilitated conversation well, and gave us direct answers to our questions,” Bandarkar said in an email. “Before I was appointed to the board, Kathleen built a partnership with SAO (Student Advocate’s Office) and has overall been very receptive to our feedback. I think that a systemwide Title IX officer was a much needed addition to UCOP.”

Salvaty added that installing a single coordinating office to provide guidance on the implementation of policy provisions for campus-specific Title IX offices has been a helpful addition.

“I was a UCLA Title IX officer,” Salvaty said. “If you had a question about the policy or procedures, you really wanted to be able to get an answer from someone and know that was a consistent answer throughout the system. So that’s been a big part of the job and why I thought it was a great position … It (provides) overarching consistency and support.”

Under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education rescinded Obama-era guidelines for how campuses should handle sexual assault cases in September 2017.

Though Salvaty is concerned that the rollback of such guidelines could discourage individuals from reporting cases of sexual misconduct, she said she was heartened by the pushback she saw from students.

“What’s been a positive outgrowth … is that the students have really come forward and made really clear … that whatever guidance is coming out of Washington, the students at this point know their right and expect their university to protect them,” Salvaty said. “In that respect, it’s been encouraging.”

Contact Katherine Yen at [email protected].