California lawmakers demand university audits in wake of sexual assault complaints

Lauren Williams's picture

A California legislative committee has unanimously approved a state review of the University of California-Berkeley and three other campuses, after a federal complaint alleged failures handling sexual assaults by school officials.

On Wednesday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee moved forward a request, drafted by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), to the state auditor's office for an audit of sexual misconduct policies at UC-Berkeley, as well as one other UC campus and two California State University campuses that have yet to be determined.

The audit request is the first legislative action in response to a wave of federal complaints filed against public and private colleges around the country.

A group of students filed a federal Clery complaint against UC-Berkeley in May, alleging underreporting of sexual violence on campus and a failure to keep victims safe. The Clery Act is a federal law requiring universities to accurately report and disclose all crime on campus. Although the U.S. Department of Education has not said whether it will review UC-Berkeley, it has opened investigations at Occidental College and at the University of Southern California, both private schools that have been the targets of similar complaints by students and recent alumni.

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