Napolitano: 'We Must, and We Will, Do a Better Job' in Addressing Sexual Assault

Quick Summary

  • UC leader further shores up university's efforts toward 'firm, fair, prompt' handling of complaints
  • Establishes Systemwide Peer Review Committee to consider and approve all proposed sanctions for senior leaders deemed to have violated policy
  • Directs chancellors to ensure all senior leaders complete mandatory training by March 25

UC President Janet Napolitano issued the following letter to the university community today (March 18).


Training for Nonsupervisors, Too

Dear Colleagues:

Recent developments have roused concerns and questions regarding how incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence are addressed at UC. I want to take this opportunity to reinforce some important points and share with you additional measures I am instituting to address these issues.

Let me be clear: Each and every one of you has the right to come to UC to learn and work in an environment free of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and to be part of an institution that deals with any substantiated reports of sexual harassment or violence firmly, fairly and promptly.

Ensuring that UC is a safe environment is a top priority both for the university, and to me personally. In 2014, I formed the 29-member President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault, which has spent the last two years instituting systemwide improvements to strengthen our processes and increase transparency and consistency across the system. These improvements have included mandatory education and training for students, administrators, faculty and staff; confidential support for survivors; resources for people reporting sexual violence and those responding to allegations; and standardized procedures for investigating, adjudicating and imposing sanctions in cases involving students.

In cases involving faculty, I appointed a joint committee of the UC administration and the Academic Senate, with student representation, to review our current procedures and provide recommendations to me by April 4. Once that work is complete, we will then focus on reviewing our process for handling cases involving staff beginning in April.

But recent developments have demonstrated that we must take immediate steps to further shore up our efforts.

Last week, I established a new Systemwide Peer Review Committee that will review and approve all proposed sanctions for any senior university leader found to have violated our UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Senior leaders include, but are not limited to, chancellors, associate and assistant chancellors, provosts and vice provosts, deans, coaches and athletic directors.

After consulting with the chancellors, I have appointed the following individuals to serve on the Systemwide Peer Review Committee:

  • Co-Chair Sheryl Vacca, UC Chief Compliance and Audit Officer and Chair of the President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence (UC Office of the President)
  • Co-Chair Allison Woodall, Deputy General Counsel (UC Office of the President)
  • Ramona Agrela, Associate Chancellor, Chief Human Resources (UC Irvine)
  • Brian Alldredge, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy (UCSF)
  • Ken Baerenklau, Associate Provost, Associate Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy (UC Riverside)
  • Gregg Camfield, Vice Provost for the Faculty, Professor of Literature and Culture (UC Merced)
  • Fiona Doyle, Dean of Graduate Division, Professor of Mineral Engineering (UC Berkeley)
  • Julie Freischlag, Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences, Dean of the School of Medicine (UC Davis)
  • Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs (UC Santa Barbara)
  • Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services (UC Santa Cruz)
  • JoAnn Trejo, Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs in Health Sciences, Professor of Pharmacology (UC San Diego)
  • Patricia Turner, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education, Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education (UCLA)

In addition, I have directed the chancellors to ensure that all senior leaders take the university’s mandatory sexual harassment training by March 25 to guarantee full understanding of UC’s policy and procedures.

We must, and we will, do a better job of investigating all claims of sexual harassment or sexual violence thoroughly and fairly. And when claims are substantiated, we must hold people accountable and impose sanctions that appropriately reflect the seriousness of these cases.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano

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