UC system hires Title IX coordinator

GENESIA TING / AGGIE
GENESIA TING / AGGIE

Kathleen Salvaty to oversee implementation of UC policy against sexual harassment, violence

The University of California (UC) system announced in a press release that it hired Kathleen Salvaty as its first Title IX coordinator to lead efforts against sexual harassment and sexual violence throughout all 10 campuses. The position, which begins Feb. 6, is based at the University Office of the President (UCOP) and reports directly to UC President Janet Napolitano. Salvaty, a civil rights attorney, most recently worked as the Title IX coordinator at UCLA. At UCLA, she was responsible for designing and implementing education to prevent sexual violence and harassment and managed responses for reports of gender discrimination.

For the past few years, Napolitano and the UC system have worked to change the culture surrounding sexual harassment and violence and to improve timeliness and fairness in investigations of sexual misconduct.

“Hiring [Salvaty] is a critical next step in making sure our recently overhauled policies to prevent, adjudicate and sanction sexual misconduct at UC are properly, and consistently, carried out,” Napolitano said via the press release.

Napolitano expressed the importance of making sure each member of the UC community feels safe and respected. The UCOP Compliance program created a task force in 2014 to address prevention and response to sexual violence and assault. Salvaty will direct the UC system’s efforts to continue improving Title IX compliance and oversee local Title IX coordinators to ensure implementation of university policies.

Wendi Delmendo, the chief compliance officer at UC Davis, works on the Ethics and Compliance Risk Committee of the Office of the Interim Provost. Delmendo also serves as UC Davis’ Title IX officer and lead discrimination officer. Delmendo does not anticipate any administrative changes at UC Davis and acknowledges that the system-wide coordinator will be a resource to all the campuses.

“The systemwide Title IX Officer will serve as a resource to the campus when issues arise that the campus would like to consult about,” Delmendo said via email. “The systemwide office can also provide investigative resources when needed to support the campus.”

Delmendo believes that UC Davis has a strong program to respond to allegations of sexual violence and harassment. The campus offers a host of resources that are available for students.

“This team includes the Title IX Office, the Harassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program (HDAPP), the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA), the UC Davis Police Department and the Center for Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE),” Delmendo said.

The Title IX officer hiring is important for the continued support of students, especially in light of recent debate over the effectiveness of campus resources and the ways in which administration has handled past sexual harassment situations.

Anastasia Ruttkay, a fourth-year international relations major, believes that the Title IX process has not worked in favor of sexual assault survivors thus far.

It’s crucial for the UC system to hire a Title IX coordinator who can speak to the degree of sexual assault and who can rightfully advocate for sexual assault survivors,” Ruttkay said via email.

An ASUCD senator, Ruttkay’s platform focuses on sexual assault prevention within Greek life by providing resources and establishing a sexual assault prevention chair in every Greek chapter house. Ruttkay thinks that not enough students are committed to sexual assault prevention.

There is a huge stigma towards sexual assault survivors, for it is extremely common for perpetrators along with many others to victim blame,” Ruttkay said. “The best thing we can do to improve this issue is to educate others around us with the main intention being to break the stigma towards sexual assault survivors, support the reporting process and ultimately stop sexual assault from occurring.”

Written by: Jayashri Padmanabhan — campus@theaggie.org