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Assembly Higher Education Committee Releases Report on Addressing Sex Discrimination at California’s Public Higher Education Institutions

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Mike Fong (D-Alhambra) announced the release of a 30 plus page report examining how to improve campus climate through the prevention of sexual discrimination and harassment at California’s public higher education institutions.

In the fall of 2021, on the heels of the Biden Administration’s reexamination of Title IX, a federal law prohibiting discrimination in any education institutions based on one’s sex, the Assembly Higher Education Committee embarked on a process to conduct its own examination of California’s postsecondary education institutions’ policies to address sex discrimination and sexual harassment.

Over the past three years, the Committee has met with experts, as well as with students, faculty and staff from all three public higher education segments: California Community Colleges, the California State University (CSU) and the University of California.

The report provides information on what these postsecondary education institutions are doing to address and prevent sexual harassment on campuses and how California can strengthen and better support these institutions to ensure that cases of sexual harassment are handled swiftly and in accordance with the law.

“I appreciate all the work of the Committee Staff on this report, as this issue has been one of importance and one we have been working on even before the California State Auditor’s investigation of the CSU,” said Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Mike Fong. “California’s public higher education institutions are critical to the future of our state, and we must ensure our values of diversity and inclusivity are reflected in providing all students with a safe learning environment and all staff with a working environment free from harassment and discrimination.”

Key findings from the Committee’s report include:

  • While each public higher education institution has a nondiscrimination policy, these policies focus more on processing sexual harassment complaints and not the prevention of sexual harassment on campus.
  • There is a lack of trust between the administration and the campus community, as the campus community, which includes student, faculty and staff, does not trust the institution to protect them from harassers.
  • California does not have an effective method to monitor whether its higher education institutions are implementing regulations that meet the standards of the California Sex Equity in Education Act and Title IX.

The Committee’s report also includes an assessment of areas in which all segments of California’s higher education system can improve as well as recommendations on how the state can provide better support in monitoring and preventing sexual harassment across the state, in each of California’s higher education segments and individual campuses.

“The report identifies areas the state’s higher education institutions must address and strengthen in order to ensure compliance with Title IX standards, and I am eager to work with my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate to introduce legislation based on the recommendations to ensure that systems are in place to uplift and protect our students and staff,” said Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Mike Fong.

Please find the Committee’s full report, “A Call to Action” Report, here.