UC Berkeley chancellor announces new committee on sexual misconduct

Recent article in the Daily Californian with quotes by GWS Professor Leslie Salzinger and GWS Professor and Chair Charis Thompson.

And here is the full text Professor Thompson sent to the Daily Cal when asked to comment for the article:

Despite a widespread perception that it is much too little, much too late, we welcome the formation of a Chancellor’s Committee on Sexual Violence, Harassment and Assault to address failures of process in handling cases of sexual harassment and violence at UC Berkeley. We thank Dean Hesse for her service and will continue as a Department to help in every way we can.

In long term and more recent conversations between faculty from the department of Gender and Women’s Studies/other feminist faculty/allies and senior leadership, and through ongoing interactions with our exceptional students and friends of the department, members of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies have articulated the following additional urgent goals:

a) Many have asked for an admission and analysis of, and apology for, mistakes in the recent past to indicate that the upper administration really “gets it” and is ready and able to move forward

b) We are seeking a commitment to taking the intersectional and power dynamics of these cases more seriously, including addressing the lighter sentences given to high profile faculty members in cases with the greatest power differentials, and including working to eliminate various kinds of bullying, for example of staff by faculty, that are related to but not identical with sexual harassment

c) We need a commitment from the administration to make sure that more people can benefit from the research and teaching on gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, power, and violence in which the campus excels; currently, this work is too optional, too marginal, and often doesn’t reach those in parts of the campus with the most work to do to realize campus Equity & Inclusion goals.

Without these additional foci, we believe it will be hard to bring about the needed deep culture change on campus away from a reactive, crisis-driven approach and toward a sustainable preventative climate.

Berkeley has the opportunity to be a leader through learning from past mistakes. We hope to see announcements from the upper administration on these issues shortly.

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