3 UC Campuses Inconsistently Disciplined Staff Accused of Sexual Misconduct
A recent audit found UC Berkeley, Los Angeles and Davis were inconsistent in the disciplining of tenured faculty in comparison to other staff members.
Three University of California campuses did not consistently discipline faculty members who received multiple sexual harassment complaints, according to a state audit released Thursday.
Auditors looked at UC’s handling of all sexual misconduct cases in the last decade involving faculty and staff by assessing how quickly UC officials resolved cases, how well they communicated with those involved and whether or not the school properly followed its sexual misconduct policies and practices, reports Los Angeles Times.
State Auditor Elaine Howle said UC could improve its response to sexual harassment complaints with clearer direction on time frames and more communication.
The audit found UC Berkeley, Los Angeles and Davis took longer to discipline members of the Academic Senate, which includes tenured faculty, than other staff members.
The audit was requested last August by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian after a colleague’s daughter, who was a 24-year-old UCLA doctoral student, filed a Title IX complaint in 2012 alleging her faculty advisor, 69-year-old Eric Gans, sent her unwanted emails for two years beginning in 2010 and repeatedly told him he loved her after she asked him to stop.
In 2013, UCLA found Gans violated university policies by creating a sexually hostile workplace. In a settlement, Gans agreed to resign and was barred from future employment at the university.
The student received an undisclosed payment but was also barred from studying or working at any university campus or affiliate.
Jerry Kang, UCLA vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, claims the data used by auditors did not properly capture the widespread changes the campus has made over the last three years and that cases involving Academic Senate members take longer because they require hearings.
Last year, UC adopted reforms for sexual misconduct cases involving faculty and staff by speeding up the timeline to complete investigations and choose which disciplinary actions would be taken. It also increased transparency in sharing results with all parties involved in each complaint.
Before the reform was implemented, the audit found similar cases of non-sexual physical contact had different outcomes. For instance, a Berkeley professor was allowed to continue in his role while a UCLA lecturer agreed to leave as part of a settlement.
As a result, Howle recommended UC make discipline more consistent and effective by requiring university officials to consult with Title IX coordinators about applicable actions.
In a letter to Howle, UC President Janet Napolitano accepted all recommendations.
“UC understands the need for a strong stance against sexual violence and sexual harassment, meaningful efforts at prevention, and fair and timely processes for addressing complaints,” Napolitano wrote. “To that end, the university has made great, proactive strides in improving its response to [sexual misconduct] issues.”
In her letter, Napolitano referenced the school’s 2016 overhaul of its harassment policies for students, which included expanded training, education and support services following a review by a task force she launched in 2014.
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