Beyond Compliance to launch ambitious education, outreach initiative

Students in a classroom
Campus faculty members, with expertise in an array of areas, are well-positioned to offer new courses focused on sexual violence/sexual harassment themes and issues.

Beyond Compliance—the UC Santa Cruz initiative to engage faculty in reshaping campus culture with the goal of creating an environment free from sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH)—has announced an ambitious, multi-year plan to move the campus closer to this future.

Kimberly Lau and Martin Berger, co-chairs of the initiative, have developed a three-year campaign that focuses on faculty education, participation, and leadership.

“Our goal is to create a significant and noticeable shift in the campus culture,” said Lau, vice chair of the Academic Senate and a professor of literature. “Faculty must take the lead and demonstrate that sexual violence and sexual harassment have no place here.”

The campaign is made up of four components: funding for faculty to develop courses on SVSH-related themes; curriculum workshops to brainstorm ways to incorporate SVSH units into existing courses; a faculty reading group to deepen understanding about the nuances and complexities surrounding SVSH; and a student-centered education series for faculty to underscore the stories and perspectives of those who have experienced abuse.

The Beyond Compliance initiative was launched in 2016 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.”

Since its launch, the campus has revised policies, sought wider community input, and held town halls and community building circles. Beyond Compliance will now work directly on reshaping campus culture in collaboration with other campus experts on the subject, including the Title IX Office, CARE staff and students, student groups, the Women’s Center, and the many faculty, staff, and students participating on the Beyond Compliance working group and advisory group.

This multi-year effort was made possible through the financial support of Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp who is committed to changing campus culture and practices.

“Kim and I are delighted to have CP/EVC Tromp’s support. Her funding commitments will ensure that we reach a vastly larger audience, as they help us reshape how the campus community thinks about and responds to SVSH,” said Berger, interim associate vice provost for Academic Affairs and associate campus diversity officer for faculty.

Campus faculty members, with expertise in an array of areas, are well-positioned to offer new courses focused on sexual violence/sexual harassment themes and issues, Berger said. Courses might offer historical or transnational perspectives on consent laws; look at the cultural forces that sustain rape in literature, art, and life; use “serious games” approaches to challenging predatory culture and fostering bystander intervention; and much more.

Curriculum workshops, modeled after what is offered by the Sustainability Office, would help interested faculty members think of ways to add a sexual violence/sexual harassment component into existing courses. The syllabus could include a relevant film, novel or scholarly article, for example.

Lau noted that faculty are often extremely moved by student accounts of their personal experiences around sexual violence/sexual harassment. Their accounts are often much more effective in capturing faculty attention and inspiring them to action. The Beyond Compliance group plans to explore developing an education series that focuses on the student experience with the help of a student through the Chancellor’s Graduate Internship Program and other campus partners.

Additionally, the Beyond Compliance group, in collaboration with the Title IX Office, will design and implement a faculty Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment training program to educate faculty leaders to act as Title IX ambassadors to the campus community, attending events and meetings, and serving as a resource for better understanding Title IX issues and services. The program aims to expand the number of faculty conversant with these important issues.

The Beyond Compliance group will also work with graduate students and the Graduate Division to develop a set of best practices for supporting students whose advisors are either placed on involuntary leave during an investigation or who have been found in violation of UC’s SVSH policies. Rather than dealing with student issues on a case-by-case basis, the group aims to develop consistent procedures for ensuring that graduate students get the support they require to make timely progress toward their degrees.

Training faculty ambassadors and developing protocols for students whose graduate advisors are placed on leave will begin this year, as will the review of faculty course proposals. The rest of the initiative will launch in fall 2018.

Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp comes to UC Santa Cruz with a demonstrated commitment to addressing SVSH.

“I’m pleased to support this vital work and want to send a strong message to the campus community that sexual violence and sexual harassment have no place on this campus,” Tromp said. “Through strict adherence to UC policy and enhanced educational efforts, we will strive to create a community where people are free to work and pursue their educations unencumbered by threats of sexual violence or sexual harassment.

"This is an ambitious goal for any institution in a world that has often failed to punish such acts, but it is a goal that matters a great deal to both the chancellor and to me.”