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Plans finalized for new sexual violence & sexual harassment peer review panel

We write you today to announce that plans for a Campus Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Peer Review Panel have been finalized.

Beginning in 2017, five-member panels, comprised of an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a member of the Berkeley staff, a faculty member and a senior administrator, will review all cases in which a faculty or staff member has been found to have violated the university’s sexual violence and sexual harassment policy, and it will provide guidance and advice to the Chancellor on proposed resolutions.

The goal of the peer view panel is to ensure that sanctions for campus employees are dealt with in an effective, fair and consistent manner. The panel will not replace any of the current investigatory or disciplinary processes that are in place but will add a new layer of input into the disciplinary process by a panel made up of a cross-section of the campus community.

We will call for panel nominations in January 2017.

The campus announced plans for such a panel last spring and since that time senior campus leaders and representatives from the Academic Senate have been working on this issue, including outreach to various campus and community experts and constituencies for their input and guidance.

These announced plans for a faculty and staff peer review panel came shortly after UC President Janet Napolitano announced in March plans for a UC Systemwide peer review panel that would review cases of sexual harassment and sexual violence policy violations involving senior university leaders including chancellors, associate and assistant chancellors, provosts, vice provosts, deans, coaches, and athletic directors.

The UC Berkeley campus peer review panel responds to an April 2016 UC directive concerning faculty and is meant to be a local extension of the UC systemwide peer review panel for senior administrators to include faculty and staff on the campuses.

Additional details about the peer review panel include the following:

•         A 15-member pool of panelists will be selected and from that pool, 5-member panels will be brought together to review cases.

•         Panel members will receive training by a Title IX specialist prior to their service on the panel; and the work of the panel will be strictly confidential.

•         Once panel members have received materials regarding a particular case they will have ten business days to review the matter. They will then meet with the chancellor and the chancellor’s campus lead on sexual violence and sexual harassment issues, and will offer their confidential views and advice regarding the proposed resolutions.

A full list of the panel’s charge and responsibilities can be found here: http://chancellor.berkeley.edu/campus-sexual-violence-sexual-harassment-peer-review-panel

The creation of this framework for a campus peer review panel is just one of many efforts that dedicated campus staff, faculty and students are involved in as we seek to make our campus community a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

Sincerely,

Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor

Carla Hesse, Interim Campus Lead on Sexual Harassment & Sexual Violence,
Dean of Social Sciences and Executive Dean of the College of Letters & Science