Our campus, despite widely shared progressive values and a commitment to social justice, is not immune to the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment. We want you to know what we are doing to build a campus culture that does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind, and invite you to join us.
Our priority is the safety and well being of our campus community. Safety begins with education and awareness, but we must overcome the cultural and institutional barriers that hinder reporting when violations occur. We can only take action when individuals come forward.
To that end, we want to ensure that all students, staff, and faculty are aware of the resources available to them—both to educate themselves now, and to utilize if they experience unwanted sexual behavior of any kind. The range of resources available to victims include confidential counseling, consultation with the Title IX Office, which oversees compliance with federal laws regarding sex discrimination, and reporting to campus police. Links to top-line resources include:
- Title IX Office
- Campus Advocacy, Resources, and Education Office
- Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
- UC Santa Cruz Police Department
Prevention begins with education, and the Title IX Office offers online and in-person training to faculty and other academics. Following last spring's town hall about sexual violence, a group of faculty formed a "Beyond Compliance" task force to evaluate current practices and make recommendations to campus leaders.
We are evaluating our campus processes for reporting and investigating faculty code-of-conduct complaints. We are investing in our Title IX Office, and we are not alone in seeking to improve campus procedures. At the systemwide level, the UC Office of the President has adopted new policies regarding faculty behavior, and OP has hired a systemwide coordinator of Title IX processes and procedures.
We want to go further and acknowledge the power differentials that can impede a victim's willingness to report incidents, particularly between faculty and students. We recognize that students may fear that grades, letters of recommendation, job prospects, and entire careers are on the line.
This is why we believe it is critical that faculty take leadership roles in changing the campus culture. We urge our colleagues to educate themselves about the Faculty Code of Conduct and UC policies regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment, and we encourage faculty to take proactive steps when they see or hear colleagues engaging in unacceptable behavior. Zero tolerance starts with each of us.
We have steadily invested in public-awareness campaigns around sexual violence and sexual assault, and we have seen a corresponding increase in the number of reports received by the Title IX Office, but there is more to do. We must find new ways to reach students, as well.
We welcome your input and engagement. Working together, we can improve the campus climate for all members of the UC Santa Cruz community.