The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) Sexual Assault Commission silently protested “certain aspects” of a conference on campus sexual assault yesterday.
The conference included researchers, students and other experts “who discussed the effectiveness of various policies in dealing with sexual assault cases on campus.”
But the ASUC group thought that there was insufficient student participation, and that the meetings were too “inaccessible.”
It also had an issue with the concept of an overall “fair process” in sexual assault cases. During this conference discussion, members lined the perimeter of the room with duct tape over their mouths, and held signs up as testimony to the “insensitive” treatment campus sex assault survivors allegedly had faced.
According to UC Berkeley junior Meghan Warner, the commission’s director and co-chair of Greeks Against Sexual Assault, some students in the ASUC were involved in the planning of the conference, but these students were neither involved in the sexual assault commission nor were they publicly identified survivors of assault. She also said that the distance to the DoubleTree hotel, located about 4 miles from campus, and the fact that many students are studying for midterms made much of the conference inaccessible to students.
Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said, however, that students were involved in the planning of the conference and that 100 seats were set aside for students. Half of these seats were reserved for UC Berkeley students specifically, who were given discounted tickets at a $20 rate.
Currently, campus policies for preventing sexual assault include the Bear Pact orientation program for all incoming students and Haven, an online learning program about sexual violence, according to the campus’s sexual assault prevention and response website. Students who do not complete these requirements are subject to registration blocks the following semester.
At present time, the university is under investigation for (allegedly) violating Title IX after a total of thirty-one students had filed complaints.
“For (the campus) to act as a role model in this conference is insulting,” said UC Berkeley senior Sofie Karasek, who has spearheaded multiple complaints against the campus and is a member of the ASUC Sexual Assault Commission.
The group plans a display tonight on the steps of Wheeler Hall that “feature[s] survivors’ testimony about interactions with administration, other officials and friends.” It will take place during a presentation by Anita Hill, who back in 1991 had accused now-US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.