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An update on UC Berkeley’s efforts to combat sexual violence on our campus

Dear Campus Community,

As we begin the fall semester, I want to update you on all that UC Berkeley is doing to curb sexual violence on our campus and to create a culture of prevention, support, and accountability within the university community.

Over the past several years, we have made a concerted effort to ensure that every member of our community understands what constitutes sexual violence, recognizes the importance of prevention, is aware of the support and resources available to survivors, and is cognizant of the policies and procedures that come into play when a violation of policy is brought forth. As we continue to progress towards these goals, I’d like to share information about new campus policies that will take effect this fall, as well as additional resources that are now available:

This semester, all new incoming students – both undergraduate freshmen and transfers, as well as graduate students – will be required to attend in-person presentations that aim to prevent sexual violence by raising awareness, building skills for bystander intervention, and conveying information about resources available on campus. New students will also be responsible for successfully completing, within the first six weeks of school, an online educational program focused on sexual assault prevention. Students who fail to take both trainings will face a registration block until this requirement is met. More information about these programs will be sent to students via email and is available on the survivor support web site.

Additionally, we will be providing students with opportunities for continued sexual assault awareness and prevention training, including new consent education programs, throughout the school year. These will supplement our existing bystander education program Bears that CARE and the annual Take Back the Night resource fair and rally.

I am also pleased to announce that we are welcoming to campus two new Confidential Advocates: Tiffany Hsiang, MSW, and Kiara Lee, MSW. Hsiang and Lee will share 24/7 on-call shifts to support survivors in accessing resources and provide assistance with reporting options, and will additionally take leadership roles in enhancing UC Berkeley’s prevention and awareness efforts. One of these two new positions is funded by this past year’s student-led Wellness Referendum.

While UC Berkeley has made confronting sexual harassment and violence a priority (visit titleixnews.wpengine.com for a comprehensive look at what we’ve done over the last several years), we know that our efforts cannot succeed absent the engagement, concern, and participation of the entire campus community. I want to offer my sincere thanks to the many student organizations that have developed their own programs to address this issue, such as the ASUC’s Sexual Assault Commission and Cal Consent campaign; the Residence Hall Assembly’s Dialogue Now series; CalGreeks’ forum on sexual assault, prevention trainings, and safety programs; the Graduate Assembly’s partnerships and work to bring faculty voices into the effort; and many others. I believe that our collective endeavors can help us make UC Berkeley a place that is free from harassment and violence, while offering support and respect for each member of our community.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Dirks
Chancellor