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UC Berkeley Among California Universities Needing To Improve Sexual Assault Policies, Audit Finds

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — UC Berkeley is among four California public universities lacking sufficient sexual assault and harassment policies, according to a state report released Tuesday.

The auditor’s office released the critical report after state legislators heard from UC Berkeley students who said that school administrators failed to adequately handle sexual assault cases.

Cal State Chico, UCLA and San Diego State University were added to the audit later.

The review covered the years 2009 to 2013, a period that included 302 cases that were serious enough to be reported to university police.

California State Auditor Elaine Howle concluded that while state and federal laws make clear that colleges and universities have specific responsibilities when it comes to protecting and punishing students, the four schools made “limited” efforts to ensure that athletic coaches, dorm advisers and others staff members “who are likely to be the first point of contact” received adequate training on what to do if a student reported being harassed or assaulted.

In one survey, about one in three students at the four schools said they had experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence by a fellow students. The audit found nearly half of students who asked for help in those cases were discouraged by school officials from filing formal complaints.

In one case, the report identified a Berkeley coaching staff who knew of a sexual violence incident but did not report it to officials.

The auditor is recommending changing state law to force university employees to undergo training.

Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said in a statement that the audit will help the school to “(take) meaningful steps to provide a safe, supportive and respectful environment for our students and the entire campus community” and to “hold members of our community accountable for violating campus sexual assault policies.”

UC Berkeley continues to be under federal investigation for its handling of rape cases.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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