Report 2013-124 Recommendation 59 Responses

Report 2013-124: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: California Universities Must Better Protect Students by Doing More to Prevent, Respond to, and Resolve Incidents (Release Date: June 2014)

Recommendation #59 To: University of California, Los Angeles

All universities should ensure that the differences between an informal or early resolution process and a formal investigation process are clearly explained to ensure that students know what to expect from each process. Further, they should explain that students whose cases are being handled under an informal or early resolution process have the right to move to a formal process at any time.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

As the CSA has previously recognized, the UC Policy on Sexual Violence Sexual Harassment ("SVSH Policy") clearly delineates between a Formal Investigation and Alternative Resolution, and provides that a complainant has the right to request a Formal Investigation at any time. The recommendation states that a complainant should be informed of this right, and the SVSH Policy does inform the complainant of that right. The applicable federal guidance provides that a "complainant must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time and begin the formal stage of the complaint process." (See OCR's Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance (2001)). The relevant federal guidance thus contemplates the right to request a formal investigation, but does not state that a formal investigation must be conducted upon a complainant's request. The federal guidance provides that, "in addressing allegations of sexual harassment, the good judgment and common sense of teachers and school administrators are important elements of a response that meets the requirements of Title IX" (See 2001 Guidance at ii.) UCLA believes the SVSH Policy is consistent with relevant federal guidance.

  • Completion Date: January 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

As we stated in our assessment comments on UCLA's response in 2016, although the revised Sexual Violence/Sexual Harassment policy states complainants have the right to request a formal investigation at any time, it also states that the Title IX Officer has final authority for determining whether to initiate a formal investigation. In its response this year, UCLA notes that the relevant federal guidance does not state that a formal investigation must be conducted upon a complainant's request. However, it continues to be our view, as we discussed in our report on page 52, that "the discretion within the UC policy to not initiate a formal investigation when requested to do so does not align with instructions in {federal guidance}, which indicate that the complainant must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time."

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2016

The response will be provided via email as the length of the response exceeds the character limit.

  • Completion Date: January 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented

UCLA's email response discussed how UCLA informs students about the informal investigation process as well as the formal investigation process. In addition, it discussed the revised UC systemwide sexual violence and sexual harassment policy.

Students are provided information that clearly explains the process for early resolution or formal review, and the revised Sexual Violence/Sexual Harassment policy states complainants have the right to request a formal investigation at any time. However, it also states that the Title IX Officer has final authority for determining whether to initiate a formal investigation. As we discuss in our report on p.52, "In our view, the discretion within the UC policy to not initiate a formal investigation when requested to do so does not align with instructions in [federal guidance], which indicate that the complainant must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time". Therefore, we did not assess this recommendation as fully implemented.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

All student complainants and respondents receive a copy of the UC Interim Policy for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence, which sets forth the procedures for early resolution and formal investigation.

Issuance of the final Policy is anticipated by January 2016.

  • Estimated Completion Date: January 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


1-Year Agency Response

UCLA is committed to clearly explaining to all members of its community the investigation and adjudication procedures for sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints. The revised Interim UC Policy for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence clearly explains the differences between the Early Resolution process and Formal Investigation. Under this policy, participation in the Early Resolution process is expressly and strictly voluntary at all stages. Mediation, even if voluntary, may not be used in cases involving sexual violence.

  • Estimated Completion Date: Fall 2015
  • Response Date: June 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

UCLA only has a formal investigative process which is described in the Student Code of Conduct and is explained to the students by the Dean of Students assigned to the case; there is no informal investigation process. Should the accused accept responsibility for a violation, the Dean may sanction without holding a formal hearing in front of the Student Conduct Committee (early resolution). If there is no admission of responsibility, the case will proceed through the full hearing process.

The President's Task Force will be reviewing practices and standards in investigating and adjudicating reports of sexual misconduct across all UC locations, and making recommendations for standardization including best practices to support fair and objective procedures. The UC Policy is also being revised.

  • Estimated Completion Date: July 2015
  • Response Date: December 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

UCLA only has a formal investigative process which is explained to the students by the Dean of Students assigned to the case; there is no informal investigation process. Should the facts determined by the investigation result in admission of responsibility by the accused, the case may reach early resolution. If there is no admission of responsibility, the case will proceed through the full hearing and determination process.

The President's Task Force will be reviewing practices and standards in responding to reports of sexual misconduct across all UC locations, including best practices to support fair and objective adjudication procedures. The UC Policy is also being revised.

  • Completion Date: January 2012
  • Response Date: August 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: No Action Taken

As we mention on p.52 of the report, "The UC policy states that UC encourages early resolution and that the parties' participation in the early resolution process is voluntary. According to the policy, early resolution may include an inquiry into the facts, but does not typically include a full investigation, and early resolution options include mediating an agreement between the parties, referring the parties to counseling, or targeted educational programs, among others. The policy states that some reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence may not be appropriate for early resolution, and that the Title IX officer has the discretion to make this determination. The policy mentions that in cases where early resolution is inappropriate or in cases where early resolution is unsuccessful, a formal investigation may be conducted." Also on p. 52 of the report we state, "Information provided by three of the universities we reviewed indicates that they used an informal or early resolution process to resolve a majority of student Title IX complaints." We go on to mention on p.53 that "UCLA uses the early resolution process only when the accused student accepts responsibility for violating the university's conduct code, and based on information provided by the university for our five-year review period, it resolved 58 percent of its complaints using the early resolution process."

The intent of this recommendation is to ensure that students are being informed of what to expect from each process. UCLA has not demonstrated how it plans on informing students.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

All Recommendations in 2013-124

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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