SDSU audit results released

by Luke Henning, Staff Writer

According to a recent report by the California State Auditor’s office, San Diego State faculty and staff are not properly trained to deal with cases of sexual assault and sexual violence.

In the report, which was released on June 24, California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle concluded that, though key staff were trained in properly reporting and dealing with cases of this nature, first responders, such as coaches and resident advisors, lacked the proper training required under California law.

This report follows several month-long audits of the sexual harassment and sexual assault policies of SDSU, California State University Chico, University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Berkeley.

California State University Public Affairs Director Mike Uhlenkamp said that SDSU and the other universities were chosen at random.

The auditors recommend in the report that the universities should review their training programs for faculty and staff, especially in the area of reporting cases of sexual harassment and assault. This is specifically in compliance with Title IX, a law aimed at protecting gender equality within California Schools.

The report also included a recommendation that SDSU and the other schools post their policies in public areas throughout the school in order to spread more awareness even though it is not specifically mentioned under Title IX.

According to SDSU Chief Communications Officer Greg Block, SDSU already has several programs in place to train faculty and staff to deal with cases.

“This is not an indictment of SDSU,” Block said. “This is an opportunity for the university to review its policies and work on the areas that need improvement.”

Block said the University is already taking steps to deal with the issues targeted by the audit report with the organization of a sexual violence task force. This newly-formed task force, which is comprised of members from several departments throughout SDSU, will be tackling each issue in the report separately. They met for the first time this past June.

The audit was conducted after 31 students and alumni at UC Berkeley filed a federal complaint against the school under Title IX in February 2013. In the complaint the students and alumni said UC Berkeley administrators deliberately mishandled their cases, often allowing their attackers to continue attending the school with few repercussions.

Following the federal complaint, the California State Assembly called for an audit of multiple public colleges within the state in order to review the policies and prevent problems within other state schools.

According to California State Auditor press contact Margarita Fernandez, audits are not disciplinary action towards organizations.

“The state (California) uses audits to identify problem areas long before we ever need to take disciplinary action,” Fernandez said.