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The University of California
It Must Take Additional Steps to Address Long‑Standing Issues With Its Response to Sexual Harassment Complaints

Report Number: 2017-125

June 21, 2018 2017-125

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor presents this audit report concerning the University of California (university) and its responses to sexual harassment complaints involving faculty and staff harassers and student victims. Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) requires the university to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment. This report concludes that although the university has been aware of issues with its responses to sexual harassment complaints and has taken steps to address them, it must do more to stop, prevent, and remedy sexual harassment at its campuses.

Notably, we found that the three campuses we visited—Berkeley, Davis, and Los Angeles—took much longer to discipline faculty in the Academic Senate than they did to discipline staff. On average, the three campuses disciplined staff within 43 days after the conclusion of an investigation compared to 220 days for faculty in the Academic Senate. In addition, the three campuses disciplined faculty inconsistently, especially those faculty who were the subjects of multiple sexual harassment complaints. Campus Title IX coordinators, if they had a role in deciding discipline—which they currently do not have—could help the university gain consistency in the discipline it imposes. We also found that the three campuses inconsistently followed Title IX guidance in their informal and formal processes to address sexual harassment complaints. The three campuses frequently exceeded investigation time frames without obtaining approved time extensions and they often did not send all required information to the complainants and respondents.

Finally, the university’s Office of the President established a systemwide Title IX office (systemwide office) in February 2017 with a goal to implement a consistent and coordinated response systemwide to complaints of sexual harassment. However, to make the systemwide office more effective, the Office of the President needs to define how much consistency it desires and provide the systemwide office the necessary authority to achieve it. We identified three areas in which the systemwide office should play a central role in the university’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual harassment: setting policy, analyzing applicable data, and overseeing the campuses. Based on feedback from external entities and internal groups, the university has taken steps to improve its response to complaints of sexual harassment, but our audit found that the university needs to take additional steps to fully resolve the concerns that reviewers have raised.

Respectfully submitted,

State Auditor

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