UCs are required to incorporate sexual violence prevention training for students in efforts to reduce sexual assault cases

This upcoming school year, the UC Santa Barbara administration will expand its current resources to prevent sexual violence on campus and mandate all students to participate in an annual sexual violence prevention training.

The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault announced in July all UC campuses would be required to implement mandatory training for all students, standardize investigation and student judicial processes and provide increased support for students involved in sexual assault cases.

Although UCSB has required incoming students to complete online training for several years, university administrators aim to further comply with the mandate by expanding existing programs.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang said while a number of the task force’s recommendations were already in place at UCSB, the mandate can still strengthen the “well-established advocacy efforts” currently utilized.

“The safety and welfare of our students and our campus community is our highest priority,” Yang said in an email. “While we have made good progress, we believe there is room for endless improvement, and we will continue to work together to enhance our programs, policies, and educational efforts.”

Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment Director and Title IX Coordinator Ricardo Alcaíno said UCSB withholds registration to students who do not complete the online sexual assault prevention program Haven, but also plans to require all students to undergo a “refresher program.”

“One thing we have to change is to have all students — grads and undergrads — go through a refresher program every year annually going forward,” Alcaíno said. “We’re going to offer that and, of course, we’re going to mandate it so that we make sure that there’s teeth behind it.”

Campus Advocacy Resources & Education (C.A.R.E.) Director Jill Dunlap said ongoing sexual violence training is especially important for graduate students as potential faculty members, because the training will benefit future students.

“I think that the more we are able to engage graduate students on this issue, the better served they will be as they head into careers as future faculty members on other campuses,” Dunlap said in an email. “They would also feel more empowered to connect their students to resources when students come to them with issues of interpersonal violence.”

Alcaíno said the Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment and C.A.R.E. recently revised this year’s Gaucho F.Y.I. curriculum as well.

“[Gaucho F.Y.I.] is currently being revised and looked at to make it more robust as far as addressing sexual violence and sexual harassment,” Alcaíno said. “A new version is going to be starting this fall for the incoming freshmen and grad students.”

Dunlap said C.A.R.E., in conjunction with the Title IX Office and the Office of the Dean of Students, is bringing the bystander intervention program Green Dot to campus this week to train 30 additional C.A.R.E. facilitators.

“We have approximately 30 staff members from across campus who will be trained as facilitators so that bystander awareness and intervention training can become a campus-wide effort moving forward,” Dunlap said in an email.

According to Alcaíno, the contract with Haven has one year remaining, after which the university may partner with another online sexual violence prevention training program called Campus Clarity.

“This campus right now is already pretty happy and satisfied with the Haven program,” Alcaíno said. “We’re going to have to use Haven for at least this upcoming year, but we’re going to potentially look at Campus Clarity as an alternative tool to Haven for undergrad students and transfer students.”

Dunlap said C.A.R.E. will also engage students through a student advisory group and partnerships with Greek Affairs and UCOP to increase its sexual violence prevention efforts.

“CARE will be working closely with a student advisory group to identify possible gaps in prevention efforts and address them through additional prevention programming,” Dunlap said in an email.

Alcaíno said UCSB served as an example to the UCOP in the creation of new sexual assault prevention requirements system-wide.

“We were the first UC campus to make it required to do this kind of training,” Alcaíno said. “The [UC] Office of the President looked to UC Santa Barbara as a model for having mandatory training for students.”

A version of this story appeared on page 10 of the Thursday, August 27, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.