NEWSFLASH: University of California Creates New Guidelines After Facing Sexual Assault Complaints

6274308917_86271fc2da_zThe University of California has created new guidelines for campus administrators to report sexual assault. They are now required to report more types of violence and harassment, provide more support to victims and create harsher punishments for perpetrators. The Clery Act already requires such actions of the university, but UC has also addressed issues that students have brought up—including those brought up recently in federal complaints.

Thirty-one students who attended or are attending the University of California, Berkeley have filed Title IX and Clery Act reports against the school. For decades, they charge, the university has blown off multiple sexual assault investigations, never informed women of their rights and led judicial processes that favored assailants over victims.

Originally, nine students filed a Clery report with the Department of Education in May of last year, but the Department of Education failed to respond. Now, 22 more students have come forward and added their names to the report.

Four of the students had come forward in 2012, saying that they were sexually assaulted by the same man. The alleged perpetrator, a senior who led a college-sponsored club, simply got a slap on the wrist. Eight months later he was put on probation, enrolled in counseling and allowed to graduate. So much for punishing a serial rapist.

Sofie Karasek, one of the four women sexually assaulted in 2012, was told by Berkeley’s Title IX coordinator, Denise Oldham, that the case had been settled without trial, through an early resolution. This left Karasek without a chance to testify against her perpetrator. Oldham is now denying having said that, despite Karasek having email evidence.

Read much more about the nationwide student movement against campus rape in the new issue of Ms. magazine, available on newsstands and by digital or print subscription. Join the Ms. community today and don’t miss another word!

And if you’re a young feminist interested in such issues and will be in the D.C. area during March 29-31, register for the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference.

Photo of UC Berkeley courtesy of Flickr user Xelipe licensed under Creative Commons 2.0




Lindsey O'Brien is currently studying journalism at Ohio University and interning at Ms. Follow her on Twitter.