Forum hosted by ASUC addresses sexual misconduct prevention on campus

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Sharon Inkelas, special faculty adviser to the chancellor on sexual violence and sexual harassment, or SVSH, talked at an open forum hosted by the ASUC External and University Affairs Committee, or ExComm, on Monday.

With about 20 people present, students and community members were able to provide insight and share their ideas with Inkelas regarding prevention initiatives. She answered questions in regard to her position and the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus.

“I think it’s important for students to feel connected to a staff member who is directly involved in addressing the issue at a faculty and an administrative level,” ASUC Senator Zach Carter, who helped organize the event, said in an email. “I think that asking Sharon questions allowed students to hear the perspective of someone on the ‘inside’ of an issue that faces and implicates students most directly.”

Inkelas works with campus officials to create prevention initiatives related to sexual violence and sexual harassment. Her position was created in 2016 to engage more faculty and encourage student efforts in addressing sexual assault and sexual harassment, and Inkelas herself was appointed in 2017.

Inkelas said during the forum that SVSH “reaches into every corner” of campus. Her priority is to support people’s ideas, especially improving preventative education in various campus groups, such as in Greek life and athletics. Inkelas wants harassment and prevention training to be tailored to the groups and done in the right combinations, she said during the event.

“It really takes someone to devote their time to making sure that all the corners get connected and represented,” Inkelas said during the forum. “A lot of what I do is listen and synthesize a lot of what people are saying. I’m really eager to hear from you on what your thoughts are.”

During the forum, many students and community members brought up the results of the MyVoice survey — a comprehensive sexual harassment and violence survey administered to UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty.

Inkelas said during the forum that much of the MyVoice data is still being processed, but the team’s current findings have initiated a plan to design more inclusive materials and resources for the community to use.

She welcomes any member of the community to provide suggestions for these materials to make “sure that the prevention education reaches everybody.”

The MyVoice Action Planning Team, composed of several students and administrators, spent months analyzing the survey data. The results will be used for research and translated into proposed actions, which the team hopes to actualize over the next two years.

“I was really inspired by the astute and inspiring questions and remarks; the students at ExComm have the pulse of key issues on campus, as well as some practical and doable steps to suggest,” Inkelas said in an email after the event. “I very much want to do what I can to support these efforts.”

Contact Thao Nguyen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.