There has been a lot of discussion about sexual assault cases at Berkeley and a perceived lack of action by the administration there, but on Friday the president of the entire UC system set up a whole new set of standards for all 10 campuses.
"One of the ways they did go above and beyond was to have an all-encompassing definition of what consent is," said assault survivor and UC Berkeley senior Sofie Karasek. She says the new system-wide sexual violence policy is a good step, but doesn't go nearly far enough. "Survivors still don't have the right to have a formal investigation into their sexual violence cases. You have the right to request a formal investigation, but that doesn't mean you're actually going to get one."
The new policy from the office of UC President Janet Napolitano calls for expanded sexual assault training and education for students and faculty, increased reporting requirements, and broader protections for victims of sexual violence and harassment.
Last week, Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced a series of actions designed to enhance the campus response to sexual assault, including additional staff to support victims.
"The policy actually will now be our policy, which is great...anything the University of California can do to strengthen our policies around sexual violence and harassment is always a good thing," said UC Berkeley Spokesperson Claire Holmes.
"The university does not make strong efforts to teach the student body about this problem," said an assault survivor at a press conference held at UC Berkeley on Feb. 26.
The new system-wide policy comes just 10 days after 31 sexual assault victims filed a federal lawsuit against UC Berkeley, claiming the university mishandled their cases.