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University of California System: Case Study in Student Support

Compassionate, fair, thorough, timely, and as efficient as possible: These are the goals of sexual violence investigations, for both the complainant and the respondent, for all 10 University of California campuses.

As part of a comprehensive strategic approach to more effectively prevent and respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment, the University of California has implemented new systemwide procedures. The new procedures assign specific authority, roles, and responsibilities to designated offices to ensure consistency, and set projected timeframes to promptly and effectively respond to complaints. They outline a process that ensures a student lodging a complaint—as well as a student responding to a complaint— is heard, can offer witnesses and evidence, and has the opportunity to appeal if they choose. In addition, the appropriate campus personnel keep the complainant and respondent informed throughout the investigation and adjudication process.

The CARE Advocate Office offers confidential support to complainants. In addition, each UC campus provides a respondent services coordinator to assist respondents accused of sexual violence or sexual harassment. The respondent  services coordinator can:

  • Connect the respondent to resources (legal, counseling and psychological services, academic, housing, etc.)
  • Assist the respondent  in understanding their rights and the investigation and adjudication process
  • Accompany the respondent through the investigation and adjudication process

In addition, the University of California collaborated with the California Attorney General to provide a toolkit for California law enforcement agencies and institutions of higher education on how best to collaborate with respect to sexual violence cases. The toolkit includes a model memorandum of understanding between law enforcement and higher education institutions as well as a resource guide.