BERKELEY (CBS SF) — University of California at Berkeley officials said Wednesday that they have entered into a resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding the handling of sexual misconduct cases.
University officials said that for the last four years, the federal agency has been reviewing the campus’ policies, processes and case outcomes concerning sexual violence and sexual harassment and the agreement brings the investigation to a close.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began the investigation after UC Berkeley students filed two federal complaints against the campus in 2014, one as a Clery Act complaint and the other as a Title IX complaint with the OCR.
Title IX is the federal law that prohibits all forms of sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.
The resolution agreement details what the campus needs to improve in the coming years in order to address the Office for Civil Rights’ concerns.
UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ said in a statement that the agreement includes a two-year monitoring period during which the campus will have to report to the OCR on how its policies have changed.
She said the campus has been creating new policies and procedures to improve sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention and responses since 2012.
“Over the last several years, the campus has made profound changes to its policies, processes and services, and we remain committed to doing more to improve our processes and ensure a safe and supportive environment for our campus community,” Christ said.
University officials said the OCR investigation involved reviewing more than 200 case files and the office expressed compliance concerns about 12 of them.
UC Berkeley officials said they will make policy changes at the system-wide level, ensure ongoing training for specific groups on campus and review several cases to make sure that they provided an equitable response.
University officials said the OCR will also review all formal Title IX investigations involving faculty or staff that are referred for discipline following the university’s implementation of its revised sexual harassment and sexual violence policies and procedures.
The school said it is “among hundreds of colleges and universities under federal investigation and many students at universities across the country voiced similar concerns and put a spotlight on sexual harassment and violence.”
University officials said they have also created the position of “Special Faculty Adviser to the Chancellor on Sexual Violence/Sexual Harassment,” which supports campus-wide sexual misconduct prevention and response efforts.