State legislators this week unanimously approved an audit that will examine sexual assault policies and practices at UC Berkeley and three other state schools. The decision was prompted by nine students at UC Berkeley who filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging the school had inadequately investigated their sexual assaults. We check in on how America’s college campuses handle complaints of sexual assault and rape and what can be done to improve the situation.

Sofie Karasek, junior at UC Berkeley who as sexually assaulted on an off-campus trip in February 2012; she reported her assault to Berkeley and got no response
Scott Jaschik, editor for Inside Higher Ed, a news website covering higher education
Michelle Landis Dauber, professor of law and sociology at Stanford University; and an architect of a recently adopted sexual assault complaint and adjudication process at Stanford
Christine Kaviani, coordinator for SAFER at Cal Poly, which counseling and advocates services for on-campus survivors of sexual assault
Claudia Covello, Executive Director, University Health Services at UC Berkeley
Denise Oldham, Director and Title IX Officer, UC Berkeley's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination

  • loujudson

    It seems highly appropriate, or is it suspect, that there are no UCB representatives on the proposed program. I would consider that an admisison of guilt on the part of the university. Could it be true?

    Please discuss the merits of unpunished rape for the university heirarchy…

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    You have not detailed the internal process at UC or stanford. Protocols typically include notifying campus police, legal, deans, and psychological counseling professionals on campus. Students should always be offered counseling and often that includes additional fact-finding. Where are the details about campus protocols? Were the survivors on the show today offered services after they made their complaints??

  • trite

    Perhaps the universities should emphasize the utterly cowardly and unmanly nature of assaulting unconscious females. Shame these so-called men.

  • Joseph Ledzeperous

    This problem is so big, it needs to be viewed on a big scale – it is of course important to improve the internal process and structure that addresses allegations of sexual assault: bravo to those who are working hard on this. But look at the big picture: where else in society do we take adults out of their family/household/community structures and have them live in a common residential arrangement, with very limited boundaries between the private and the public? Answer: The military. (Not to mention prison, which is its own kettle of fish.) Oh yeah, another institutions with sexual assault problems! I think it has to be considered whether the residential campus model is only workable with a culture that permits a high degree of paternalism around relationships and sexual behavior. So a small religious residential college where the students actually buy into a curfew, gender-separated dorms, no visitations, etc., can maybe pull it off without descending into Lord of the Flies-levels of sub-social behavior. (Seriously: one in five women sexually assaulted.) But if students and parents don’t want that kind of restrictive atmosphere (and they generally don’t), maybe we just need to jettison the residential campus model. There would be something lost, of course, but it’s kind of inhuman to privilege the fun and companionship of residential college life over the basic integrity and safety of students, esp. women, from sexual assault.

  • Brittany

    Many props to Sofie, one of the bravest women I know. This situation was handled horrendously by the University, and the perpetrator was able to graduate and go on his way with no consequences. The University should be ashamed of themselves, and hopefully the more attention this case gets, the more change will happen at UC Berkeley and elsewhere.

  • Pat

    There are stupid men who do bad things, because they stupidly think they can get away with it, like rape.

    There are stupid women who do bad things, because they stupidly think they can get away with it, like making false accusations of rape.

    If a person says one exists but not the other, then I know they are full of crap.

  • utera

    The problem with these things is that the activists either leave things out or just use bad statistics.
    For instance she mentioned she “woke up” to a sexual assault, and she expected school admins to cover this? If it were real assault shouldn’t actually the police have been contacted? Somethings being left out.

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