The University of California Title IX Office opened applications last Tuesday for students interested in serving on a student advisory board that aims to provide students a voice regarding sexual assault and prevention on UC campuses.
The board will “play a crucial role by providing a much-needed student perspective,” said Systemwide Title IX Officer Kathleen Salvaty in a press release. “I look forward to hearing students’ concerns and ideas, and leveraging their input so we can further improve university policies.”
Nineteen students, one undergraduate and one graduate student per UC campus, will serve as board members directly involved in “procedures, implementation and enforcement of both Title IX and the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence,” Associated Students President Hieu Le told The Daily Nexus. To be qualified, students must be active participants in their respective school communities and be knowledgeable on issues relating to sexual harassment and violence. Board members are expected to report back to their respective campuses about sexual harassment response and preventative efforts headed by the Systemwide Title IX office, where they will be expected to gather student feedback.
Initial board members accepted will be notified in January and will serve for a year and a half. Board members chosen later on will only serve for one year and members will be responsible for attending two in-person meetings and monthly meetings over the phone. Board members will also have to attend an in-person meeting in Oakland on Jan. 25, 2018.
The formation of the board follows recent Title IX occurrences both nationwide and in the UC system.
In March, the women’s field hockey team at UC Berkeley filed complaints alleging Title IX violations. According to the Daily Californian, contrary to Title IX laws which require gender equity in athletics, an investigation showed that the women’s field hockey team had no home field for two consecutive seasons. UC Berkeley will be subject to indefinite monitoring by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights until it proves it is in compliance with systemwide Title IX policies; the university must show that it gives male and female athletic teams equal access to funds, publicity, and practice facilities.
In September, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded the nationwide Title IX protections, allowing universities to call for a higher standard of evidence before prosecuting students accused of sexual assault. Within a few hours of the announcement, UC President Janet Napolitano reaffirmed that sexual violence and sexual harassment policies would not change on UC campuses.
The Student Advisory Board will now serve as the link between campuses and the Title IX Office. Applications for the board are due on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 5:00 p.m.
Ella Chen is an Assistant News Editor at The Triton.