Resources to Respond to Sexual Harassment

Berkeley Law is committed to supporting anyone who has experienced any form of harassment or discrimination that impedes one’s right to a safe work or learning environment.

Seeking Help

UC Berkeley offers three main choices for students, staff members, or faculty members who believe they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, or who have concerns about a potential issue. They are not mutually exclusive; you can use one or more along the way.

  1. Discuss the issue confidentially with someone—known as a “confidential resource”—who can explain your options and resources, but who is not mandated to report the complaint to the Office of Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD).

    Confidential resources include CARE advocates (see below), ombuds, licensed counselors in student counseling centers and in employee assistance programs, and any person with a professional license requiring confidentiality (including health center employees but excluding campus legal counsel), or someone who is supervised by such a person.

    Often, confidential resources are able to help students and employees resolve their issues without filing a complaint. 

  2. Discuss the matter with someone—a colleague, supervisor, faculty member—who is mandated to report the complaint to OPHD. For student concerns, all University employees—including Resident Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and all other student employees—are known as “responsible employees,” meaning they are required to report information they receive from students regarding sexual violence, sexual harassment or other prohibited behavior promptly to a Title IX Officer or designee.

    For employee concerns, managers, supervisors, and faculty are “responsible employees,” meaning they must notify a Title IX Officer if they receive information from any university community member about incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or other prohibited behavior.

    This means, for example, that if you bring a concern or complaint to the Dean of Students or Human Resources, they are required to report your conversation to the OPHD.

    At that point, whether the complaint remains confidential is out of your hands.

  3. Make the complaint directly yourself to OPHD.

WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests
for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Quid Pro Quo: a person’s submission to such conduct is implicitly or explicitly made the basis for employment decisions, academic evaluation, grades or advancement, or other decisions affecting participation in a University program; or
  • Hostile Environment: such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, adversely limits, or interferes with a person’s participation in or benefit from the education, employment or other programs and services of the University and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating or offensive.

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Confidential and Non-Confidential Resources

Confidential

  • The Confidential Care Advocate (510-642-1988; 510-703-7594) serves students and is confidential.  Confidential Care Advocates are exactly that: social workers who serve as your “right hand” and as an entry point for exploring all your options in a caring, confidential, and non-judgmental manner. They help to implement solutions (a.k.a. “accommodations”) in a discreet way. 
  • The Social Services branch of the Tang Center (510-642-6074; 855-817-5667 for after-hours emergencies) serves students and is confidential. Tang Center therapists provide emotional counseling to survivors of sexual harassment and violence. Note that Tang Center doctors also provide medical help but are required to report violent injuries.
  • Employee Assistance (formerly CARE Services) is the campus faculty and staff assistance program providing free, confidential problem assessment and referral for UC Berkeley faculty and staff.
  • The Ombuds Offices provide confidential guidance on resolving conflicts. “What is said in the Cottage [of the Ombuds Offices], stays in the Cottage.” Communications to the Ombuds offices do not place the University “on notice.” Ombuds officers help people think through their options and help devise strategies to de-escalate and resolve conflict in an impartial manner. 
    • The Student Ombuds Office serves Undergraduates, Graduate students, and Postdocs.
    • The Staff Ombuds Office serves Staff, Non-Senate academics, and Faculty who perform management functions, including Deans, Chairs, and Directors (unfortunately, not all faculty can be directly served; many faculty-faculty conflicts are handled by the Academic Senate).

Non-Confidential:

  • The Office of the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD), (510-643-7985) responds to reports of harassment, either through “alternative resolution” involving simple and discreet actions at the Department level, or through more extensive “formal investigations” that can lead to disciplinary action the the University administration. Although OPHD is a non-confidential “office of record”—meaning they record all information they are provided—that information is shared only on a need-to-know basis. 
  • Gender and Equity Resource Center provides resource referrals for sexual violence, harassment, gender transition, hate crimes, and hostile environments. Like all the other non-confidential offices listed here, they hold privacy sacred but are obligated to report incidents of harassment as mandated by law. 
  • The UC Police Department (911 or 510-642-3333) has extensive training in handling sexual assault cases and will treat survivors with respect and sensitivity. Officers will ensure that survivors receive medical care. Charges can be filed with UCPD, but the decision to file charges does not have to be made immediately; reporting is typically non-confidential.

If You Are a Student Who Has Been Charged with Violating the Code of Student Conduct:

  • Respondent Services, a branch of the Student Affairs Case Management team, provides information and referrals to students who have been charged with student conduct violations. Respondent Services does not provide legal counsel.

If You Are a Faculty or Staff Member Who Has Been Accused of Harassment:

  • Contact Employee Relations of Central Human Resources at (510) 642-7053, option 3.
  • The UC Police Department (510-643-7985) can also be contacted, either by you or by someone of your behalf, for guidance.

Please note: If you are seeking help for an incident of sexual violence, please go to the central campus website for information on resources and support.

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