The University of California System Proposes Changes to Comply with SB 493

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Dec 03, 2021 | 0 Comments

Since California Senate Bill 493 was passed in September 2020, the University of California system (UC) has been determining how to implement the changes. UC's sexual misconduct policies must fall in line with the new California legislation as of January 1, 2022. In Part 1 of this blog post, I discussed the impact of SB 493 on Title IX and students accused of sexual misconduct.

In Part 2, I'll explain the UC response to the new law and the proposed changes to sexual misconduct rules.

The Passing of Senate Bill 493 in California Circumvents Title IX Rules

The aim of SB 493 is to offer stronger protections for alleged victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The California law goes against new Title IX rules that were introduced in 2020, which many colleges and universities claimed left victims of sexual misconduct vulnerable.

Some of the main changes SB 493 would make to existing federal Title IX rules include lowering the evidence standard for institutions to launch investigations against accused students, shifting the burden of proof from the accuser to the university, making live hearings optional, eliminating cross-examination of witnesses, and letting schools choose to have an appeals process.

How the University of California System Is Responding

UC was one of the institutions that voiced concerns over the Title IX rules that the Donald Trump administration passed in 2020. Like many colleges and universities, UC has a separate policy from its Title IX policy to deal with cases of sexual harassment that do not fall within the scope of Title IX. The Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH) policy applies systemwide to UC's ten campuses across the state.

Proposed Changes to the UC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy

Although the SVSH policy and other related frameworks already codify many of the SB 493 requirements, some are only implemented in practice and not written into policy.

Some of the new changes to the SVSH policy would include:

  • Adding “sexual exploitation” as prohibited conduct
  • Limitations on no-contact orders
  • A statement that resolution processes under the SVSH policy are not adversarial
  • Requiring the Title IX Officer to update parties periodically on the status of investigations
  • Requiring the Title IX Officer to give notice when an investigation opens despite a complainant's (accuser's) wishes
  • Allowing the Title IX Officer to consider if systemic remedies are appropriate

What Do the Changes Mean for Accused Students?

Most of the major impacts to students defending themselves from a sexual harassment claim come from SB 493 rather than UC's proposed changes to its SVSH policy. With SB 493 as California law, it simply provides UC with the authority to flaunt certain Title IX rules.

If you are a student accused of sexual misconduct at a UC school, you may find all the rule changes confusing. By contacting a student defense advisor well-versed in Title IX and sexual misconduct matters, you have a better chance of understanding the rules and how to protect your rights. Contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686 to discuss your options.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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