Thursday, March 24, 2016

It makes for...Strange Higher Ed Fellows

UC Berkeley unveils sexual harassment prevention plan
"Attorneys for Hufnagel and Choudhry have since blasted the university, saying it unfairly punished their clients because of the negative attention. A letter from Choudhry's lawyer to UC President Janet Napolitano last week demanded she publicly apologize to the former dean and rescind her directive for faculty leaders to review and possibly strip him of his tenure protections.

In response to the growing scandal, Napolitano also this month ordered Fleming removed from all administrative roles. In a letter to Dirks, she made it clear she -- like the public -- had been in the dark about the extent of the problem.

For months leading up to the Choudhry revelations, the university failed to release records on employees' discipline in sexual misconduct cases in response to a Public Records Act request made in November by this newspaper.

But Dirks on Thursday promised the campus that the era of secrecy was over. "We are committed to personal accountability and transparency," he wrote in his letter to the campus.

The scandal has tainted UC Berkeley's image, and while Thursday's action could be an important step, some were left questioning Dirks' plan and whether another task force is necessary.

The campus already has a Coordinated Community Review Team on Sexual Misconduct. The new task force, UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said, will review procedures, sanctions and campus culture, and issue a draft report by July.

Its only useful purpose would be to "do a true post-mortem on why all these cases have been so mishandled and make public those findings," said Michele Dauber, a Stanford Law School professor and advocate for sexual assault victims. "This is a scandal, and it should be investigated as a scandal.""

NYT is the only one to point out that the Boalt Dean assistant is a Cal alum

UC Berkeley chancellor unveils new plan to fight sexual misconduct on campus
LA Times has lots of detail on it

UC Berkeley Announces New Steps To Stop Screwing Up Sex Assault Cases
But after multiple federal complaints and lawsuits, some students are skeptical of another task force on sexual assault.

"Cal student Meghan Warner, one of the complainants who sparked the federal Title IX investigation, said she’s pleased to see more resources going toward the offices handling investigations and advocating for survivors.

However, she called the new task force a “a waste of time and resources.”

“We don’t need yet another official-sounding task force, and it’s clear he’s creating this because it looks good, not because it will most effectively address the issues survivors have been pointing out for years,” said Warner, who also serves on an existing task force called the “coordinated community response team.”

“I was in a meeting with Steele a few years back where we explained Title IX investigation issues and sanction issues, and how everyone keeps saying they take this issue seriously, but they do nothing about it,” she told The Huffington Post. “So it hurts to see him do the same thing years later. It’s about reputation, not student and employee safety.”

Sofie Karasek, one of the recent graduates suing UC Berkeley, said she was also skeptical that the new task force would be any different from previous task forces, like the one set up for all University of California system campuses in 2014, or the previous Title IX advisory group at Berkeley.

“It is blatantly obvious that the sole purpose of establishing yet another task force is being able to announce its creation,” Karasek said. “The students I know who were on Berkeley-specific task forces and working groups over the years routinely complained that key administrators would not bother showing up to meetings, that the meetings would be scheduled at inopportune times, and that little to nothing was accomplished during them.”"

SF Chronicle mentions it:

Some detail on that petition:Petition started by Cal fans has reached Mike Williams and the University of California Office of the President, sources say. and includes:
According to a source, Martin's contract -- he's currently working off of his term sheet from when he was hired in 2014 -- is being held up, pending the conclusion of the University's review of his role in reporting the harassment -- what he knew, when he knew it, and when he reported it."
""One donor and longtime season ticket holder penned a letter, specifically to AD Williams, and I used that as a way to fill up the white page, so I didn't have to start from scratch. Then, an individual who works in Title IX issues at another university helped pen some specifics about how the law and Title IX rules and guidelines have changed, even over the last couple of years."
Bruvold's father taught at Cal for the better part of three decades, and, he said, "many of my earliest memories were spent at Harmon [Gym] and California Memorial Stadium." He said that he feels a lifelong affiliation with the Bears, despite not having matriculated from Berkeley."
"It is germane to this timeline to note that the reporting process at Berkeley for sexual harassment on campus must go through the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, with three people, according to a source in the administration, currently handling 26 sexual harassment investigations, at an institution of over 35,000 students and 1,620 full-time faculty, with just three full-time investigators."
And then there's this:
Title IX Regulations Are Making Universities Act More Like Corporations, AAUP Says
A new report argues schools are just interested in avoiding federal investigations, not actually ending sexual violence.

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