The past two years have witnessed extraordinary changes in Title IX in higher education, and UCLA is no exception. Back in February, I appointed Jessica Price as Interim Title IX Coordinator after Kathleen Salvaty took the systemwide Title IX position for the entire University of California. I thought it would be useful for her to provide a “State of Title IX” message by identifying the top 10 changes that have taken place since 2015, when the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the new Title IX Office were created. Although we still have lots to do, I hope you can see how far we’ve come.
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
State of Title IX | Top 10 Changes since 2015
1. Training for all
We continue to develop and deliver primary prevention and awareness programs for all members of the UCLA community.
We collaborate with UCLA CARE, CAPS, the Dean of Students, Student Affairs (including Residential Life, the LGBT Campus Resource Center, Graduate Student Resource Center, and the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life), the Athletics Department, Human Resources, the Bruin Consent Coalition, UCLA New Student & Transition Programs, Staff Diversity & Compliance, the Graduate Division, and others to make training happen for all students, faculty, and staff.
- Three points of contact for all incoming students, targeted training for others
Incoming undergraduate and graduate students now receive three educational points of contact during their first six weeks on campus. They include: 1) the online Think About It training module (or Think About It: Graduate Students), 2) in-person presentations, including those offered at orientation for first-year students, transfer students, and international students, and 3) a letter from campus leadership sent to the entire UCLA community about resources and options. We deliver tailored training in-person to our nearly 700-person athletic community, and to our 3,500-member Greek Life Community. We provide additional training to leaders of registered campus organizations through Student Organizations Leadership & Engagement (“SOLE”) and all club sports participants. Fraternities and sororities can designate representatives to receive additional training and become prevention liaisons through CARE’s Violence Intervention and Prevention (“VIP”) Program.
We also offer a refresher training for ongoing students (Think About It: Part Two) and tailored training programs upon request. There are additional specialized trainings for professional schools and others.
- Mandatory online or interactive training for faculty and staff
All staff must take annual training on sexual violence and sexual harassment prevention. New employees receive training at the onboarding, including Responsible Employee training. Non-supervisory staff complete an in-person or online sexual harassment prevention training. Current faculty and supervisors must take two hours of training every two years. This training is provided online, and, on the off year, other training is available, including through Life Theater, an interactive training with professional actors to help staff talk through hypothetical workplace problems.
We provide ongoing in-person training upon request to specific employee groups (food service workers, housing, hospitality). Resident Assistants, Resident Directors, and Teaching Assistants also receive Responsible Employee training.
We are working to ensure our specialized schools and programs do not miss out. We are delivering support and training for those facilitating study abroad trips, international students, and partner schools and programs, and we continue to grow refresher trainings for those who are not new to campus. We updated our course materials and handouts last year and we are updating them again this year.
2. New policies
On January 1, 2016, the entire UC system adopted a new policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH Policy). This 23-page policy makes clear that all forms of gender discrimination, including sexual violence and sexual harassment, violate both law and University policy.
Under this policy, the Title IX Office’s ability to take appropriate action in response to sexual assault (categorized within sexual violence) and sexual harassment is enhanced. The policy includes a process for reporting and responding to complaints, a clear definition of consent, definitions of prohibited conduct, and reporting options. All parties to an SVSH report receive updates about the outcome, including sanctions. The policy includes a new definition of Responsible Employee, requiring every staff member to notify the Title IX Office when they learn that a student has experienced prohibited sexual conduct, and requiring all faculty and supervisors to notify the Title IX Office when they learn that anyone has experienced prohibited sexual conduct.
3. No sweeping under rugs
A critical requirement of the new SVSH Policy is that Responsible Employees have an obligation to notify the Title IX Office whenever they learn of potential Prohibited Conduct. The details are spelled out in the policy, but the bottom line is that professors, supervisors, and administrators are not allowed to idiosyncratically determine whether some report of sexual harassment or sexual violence should be taken seriously. Instead, all such reports must be directed to the Title IX Office, which processes them professionally, consistently, and in strict accordance with policy. The Title IX Office is charged with assessing requests for confidentiality, and the Responsible Employee requirement ensures that the Title IX Office has more of the information it needs to make an informed judgment call in response to those requests.
In 2016, the Title IX Office published Responsible Employee Guidance in the form of two documents: Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Reporting: A Short Guide for Staff and A Short Guide for Faculty. In 2017, the UC Office of the President developed a set of FAQs for Responsible Employees.
4. New investigation procedures
UCLA has adopted new procedures that further describe what happens when a report is filed with the Title IX Office, including how investigators find out what happened and determine, on a preponderance of the evidence standard, whether policy has been violated. If a student is accused (student respondents), the Student Conduct Procedures for Allegations of Prohibited Conduct under the University of California Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment are used. If a faculty or staff member is accused, the Procedures for Handling Allegations of Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation are used. Either sets of procedures are to be read in conjunction with, and consistent with, University policies such as the SVSH Policy.
5. More resources and person power
On February 6, 2017, UCLA’s previous Title IX Coordinator, Kathleen Salvaty, became the systemwide Title IX Coordinator for the entire UC system. Then Appeal Body Chair for student sexual violence/sexual harassment matters, Jessica Price, became UCLA’s Interim Title IX Coordinator.
With the Responsible Employee requirement, we have sent a clear message that the ultimate responsibility to oversee and ensure an appropriate response to sexual violence, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination on-campus rests with the Title IX Office, and Responsible Employees must send reports here. To address the needs arising from this reporting requirement, and as we work to foster a climate in which members of the campus community feel that it is safe to contact Title IX, the resources available to the Title IX Office have increased. In the past two years, the Title IX Office has grown from a staff of two to a staff of seven. Also, resources from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, in which the Title IX Office sits, are available.
6. Not a black box
The Title IX Office provides parties updates on the status of the report. Complainants are notified of steps taken to stop, prevent, and remedy sexual misconduct. Both Complainant and the Respondent are given written notice of the outcome, including sanctions, if any. If anyone has a Title IX report, the Title IX Office will take it, will respond as appropriate, and will tell any Complainant who was the subject of sexual misconduct what is happening with their matter.
7. Inclusion and humane care
The Title IX Office has renewed its commitment to ensuring that members of the UCLA community can access the Title IX resources that are available to them. In 2017, the Title IX Office translated its outreach letter (including a notice of Complainant’s resources and options) into Spanish. The Office is in the process of translating that same letter into Mandarin.
On March 14, 2017, the Title IX Office issued a statement in support of transgender members of UCLA’s community. This statement is online and includes links to the LGBT Campus Resource Center and to UCLA and UC policies explaining our commitment to inclusion and support for all gender identities.
The Title IX Office is also collaborating with Creating Space to support lactation accommodations on campus. Creating Space is a graduate student-led project committed to improving the breastfeeding climate on the UCLA campus and to supporting breastfeeding as the best nutritional practice by investing in lactation accommodation, education, and support for UCLA student and working mothers. Creating Space aims to improve the breastfeeding climate at UCLA by improving the built environment, conducting a needs assessment, connecting campus resources, and delivering appropriate lactation services. You can contact Creating Space at UCLACreatingSpace@gmail.com.
On questions of sexual violence and sexual harassment, no one will be forced to go through it alone. For example, any member of the campus community may call on CARE or the Respondent Support Coordinator to receive support. The Respondent Support Coordinator has supported student respondents in sexual violence/sexual harassment matters. As of March 12, 2017, the Respondent Support Coordinator Jason Zeck has become available to provide respondent services to staff as well. The CARE Advocate has also been made available to support members of the UCLA community, expanding the community it serves from students to include faculty and staff. This month we will ensure that CARE and the Respondent Support Coordinator have the training they need, in policy and process, to provide adequate support in personnel matters.
8. Greater collaboration
We have expanded our team-based approach to processing complaints of sexual misconduct. A Case Management Team exists to review all sexual misconduct reports against students and ensure UCLA’s responses are timely and appropriate. This team discusses procedures and alternative resolution ideas in student sexual violence/sexual harassment matters and continues to meet weekly. In March, 2017, the Title IX Office also established a Staff Case Management Team, enabling the Title IX Office to take a team-based approach to solving problems, providing support, and following up on the status of implementation of Title IX-related measures.
We have heard from people who thought that the Title IX Office might discourage them from proceeding, might reject their complaint, or might accept their complaint and then never follow up with them about what happened. We are working vigorously to combat these misperceptions. We urge anyone to come to Title IX if they have a matter, or if they have questions about how the Office works. The Title IX Coordinator has begun holding office hours that are now publicized on the Title IX website. That website also has a calendar of Title IX-related or sponsored events and workshops to promote transparency in the activities of the Title IX Office. We not only encourage people to call the Title IX Office when they are aware of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking; for employees, the Responsible Employee policy requires it. And if your matter is pending before the Title IX Office, we’ll tell you what’s going on.
Moreover, we are opting in to efforts by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to promote transparency in our data. Consistent with our commitment to respect privacy and confidentiality, we plan to publish anonymized data that will help the UCLA community better understand the complaints we receive and what has been done about them.
10. Community participation
We are committed to being a leader in efforts to stop, prevent, and remedy sexual violence and sexual harassment, and this work requires collaboration. Through the Coordinated Community Response Team, the Title IX Office collaborates with partners throughout campus to discuss and deliver best practices in policies, education, prevention, and response. Meetings are facilitated by the Title IX Coordinator and the group meets quarterly.
If you have input you’d like to share about your training experience, we’d like to hear it. E-mail us at TitleIX@conet.ucla.edu with your ideas.
We seek to reach a point where all members of our community feel welcome and that they can participate in an atmosphere free of sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sex-based discrimination. These steps get us just part of the way.
Interim Title IX Coordinator