On August 14, 2020, the University of California issued a revised Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment ("SVSH Policy"). The revision was required to comply with the Title IX regulations by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), which became effective on the same date.
Summary of Changes. Much of the prior SVSH Policy remains unchanged. The same conduct is now covered by the DOE regulations-conduct that:
- occurred on or after August 14, 2020; AND
- occurred in the United States in a University "program or activity," which includes:
- on campus; or
- off-campus (1) in the context of University operations, at a location, event or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the conduct occurred, or (2) at a building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University; AND
- was "sex-based conduct" as defined in the Title IX regulation, which includes harassment based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex-or gender-stereotyping, or sexual orientation, if the conduct is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.
If the conduct falls within the above-noted criteria, the university must address the conduct through the newly designated DOE Grievance Process. The DOE Grievance Process may involve a formal investigation, alternative resolution, or other inquiry. If a formal investigation is conducted, if either party does not accept the preliminary determination made in that investigation, a hearing will be conducted. Some of the notable changes on the process: (1) the insertion of a hearing following an investigation, and prior to policy determination;  (2) indirect questioning of parties and witnesses, through advisors who ask questions of the other party during a hearing; and (3) the University will provide a person to read the party's questions during a hearing if their advisor is not present or they do not have an advisor.
If the conduct does not fall within the above-noted criteria (i.e., other forms of Prohibited Conduct), the University will respond through the processes that existed prior to August 14, 2020. Like the DOE Grievance Process, this could result in a formal investigations, alternative resolution, or other inquiry-or the matter could be considered closed. If a formal investigation is conducted, it would not involve a hearing unless the respondent is a student or a Senate faculty member.
If a case involves both DOE-Covered Conduct and other Prohibited Conduct, the University will respond under the DOE Grievance Process. The regulations are complex and, as a result, the SVSH Policy is also complex. The above overview summarizes the major changes within the updated policy. To further clarify these changes, the University developed initial FAQs that are available here, and will be updated as appropriate.
What will happen to pending SVSH investigations?
The regulations only apply to conduct that occurs on or after August 14, 2020. SVSH investigations pending before that date will proceed under the existing SVSH Policy. In addition, the regulations do not apply to the new reports of sexual harassment if the underlying conduct occurred prior to August 14, 2020.
Does this change UC Responsible Employee duties?
No. All SVSH Policy requirements regarding Responsible Employees remain in effect. All UC Employees who are not confidential resources and become aware of the possible sexual violence or sexual harassment of students must report the information to the Office of Title IX, Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://titleix.ucr.edu/reporting.
This change was implemented in 2019 for student respondents in response to change in California case law. The current change of the hearing insertion now applies to cases that meet the DOE regulations and involve an employee respondent.