President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault

The subject of sexual violence and sexual assault on college and university campuses is a matter of national importance. Over the past months, University of California (UC) student survivors have come forward and shared their stories with the Regents and President Napolitano. President Napolitano has made it clear that the UC system has no tolerance for sexual violence and sexual assault. In conjunction, sexual violence, including stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assault, continues to be a serious public health issue.

To ensure the UC continues to maintain the highest standards of prevention, response, and reporting, President Napolitano issued a call for action and called for the UC to be the national leader in prevention and response to sexual violence and sexual assault. In addition, President Napolitano formed a “President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault.” The Task Force included participation of numerous key constituents from the UC system including faculty, staff, and students. Overall, over 100 UC representatives were included. This initial Task Force process resulted in seven key overarching recommendations that form the UC National Model for prevention, education, advocacy, and response. 

The Task Force began its efforts in July 2014 and was led by Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance and Audit Officer Sheryl Vacca. The Task Force included functional representation from across the UC system, including the Regents, survivors, survivor advocates, students, faculty, police and other administrative staff. Building on the University’s culture of no tolerance for sexual violence and assault, the Task Force built on the objectives above in its work to further build a culture of trust and transparent process for reporting and responding to incidents of sexual misconduct.

The Task Force balanced the priorities, goals, and objectives to develop recommendations for the President’s consideration and report to the Regents in September 2014. However, the Task Force realized the work could not be fully implemented and completed before the September Regents meeting. Therefore, the work was separated into Phase I (identifying initial recommendations) and planned for Phase II (further defining the detail for the recommendations to be implemented). The recommendations in the initial report on Phase I support a UC model that is sustainable and transparent, strengthens an environment of trust, and one that fosters a safe and supportive campus climate for all students. In addition, the Task Force recommendations build on current strengths currently residing on campuses and focused efforts on enhancing or overhauling, as appropriate, existing efforts throughout the system.

Recommendations: 

  1. Create a consistent “response team” model at all campuses by January 2015
  2. Adopt systemwide investigation and adjudication standards by July 2015
  3. Develop a comprehensive training and education plan with timelines from fall 2014 to fall 2015
  4. Implement a comprehensive communication strategy to educate the community and raise awareness about UC programs by January 2015
  5. Establish an independent “confidential advocacy office” for sexual violence and sexual assault on each campus by January 2015
  6. Establish a comprehensive systemwide website with campus customization capabilities by January 2015
  7. Implement a standard data set systemwide by July 2015
January Update:

On January 21, 2015, President Napolitano presented an update on the Task Force's progress to the Board of Regents. Over the past four months, UC has successfully implemented task force recommendations aimed at improving services and response to sexual violence and ensuring consistency across the system. These include:

  • Establishing a “CARE: Advocate Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Misconduct” at every campus. The offices will have a full-time trained staff member on campus to provide crisis intervention to survivors and help them access other campus resources such as psychological counseling, emergency housing and academic accommodations. The advocates will help survivors understand their reporting options and accompany them through the reporting process, if they choose to file a report. These are independent offices, separate from reporting and investigations.
  • Implementing a standardized two-team response model at all UC campuses for addressing sexual violence: A case management team will review all current sexual misconduct reports to ensure that institutional responses are timely and appropriate and that those who file complaints and those who respond to allegations receive fair, objective and equal consideration. A second team will focus on policies, community relations, prevention and intervention using a campus collaborative approach.
  • Launching a new systemwide website designed to serve as a user-friendly, one-stop portal for quick access to campus resources and important information. In addition, key information, such as how to get help, helping someone and reporting options, is being standardized across all primary campus sexual violence websites.
For more information, please see the reports to the President posted below.

Reports: