Restorative justice circle to foster dialogue around sexual violence/sexual harassment


In an effort to have an open dialogue and foster healing surrounding incidents of sexual violence and sexual harassment, UC Santa Cruz will host a restorative justice community-building circle open to students, faculty, and staff.

The session, part of the campus’s Beyond Compliance initiative, will be from 7–9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15 at the Namaste Lounge in Colleges 9/10.

“We hope this event will initiate a process that will move us toward community healing,” said Vice Chair of the Academic Senate Kim Lau and Acting Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Martin Berger, who co-chair the Beyond Compliance group.

The event is co-sponsored by the Beyond Compliance group, the ten colleges, Graduate Student Association, Student Union Assembly, Academic Senate, and Academic Affairs Office.

The circle will be facilitated by Gabriela Arredondo, professor and chair of Latin American and Latino Studies, Bettina Aptheker, distinguished professor of Feminist Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and Vicki Duval, the campus Restorative Justice Program coordinator.

The goals of a restorative justice healing circle include giving everyone a chance to share their experience; supporting open lines of communication; engendering feelings of support; rebuilding trust; strengthening the campus community; providing a forum for collaborative decision-making; and working to support individuals and the community in healing.

The Beyond Compliance initiative was launched last year by then-Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway as a first step in encouraging UC Santa Cruz to “define concrete mechanisms that administrators and faculty can adopt, above and beyond what is required by law or policy, to advance a culture of service to each other and our students.”

The first forum in May 2016 led to a working group comprised of leadership from the Academic Senate and from across campus, including graduate and undergraduate students. Since then, the group has worked with the administration to refine campus policy and suggest new ways of grappling with the issue of sexual violence and sexual harassment on campus. It also hopes to build on the actionable outcomes generated at the restorative justice healing circle as well as ideas generated through future visioning exercises with students, faculty, and staff.

Berger said the Beyond Compliance group has another event planned for 6–8 p.m. on April 13 at the Oakes College Learning Center to offer updates about campus and university policy and Beyond Compliance initiatives, give people an opportunity to ask general questions about Title IX processes, and provide feedback and ideas about how we as a community might begin to shift the culture around sexual violence and sexual harassment and campus and in society at large.