Andrea Terry, CFA Sacramento Political Action and Legislation Committee Chair and Sacramento State professor, shared a story about a student who sought help from what turned out to be an unresponsive and ineffective Title IX office on her campus. “This student deserved timely updates on the status of her case. She deserved to have her pain acknowledged and respected with the simple act of consistent and timely communication,” said Terry.

On April 16, CFA members attended the Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing to support the “A Call to Action” 12-bill legislative package aimed at Title IX reform. It  was crafted around the “A Call to Action” report that examined ways improving campus culture through the prevention of sexual discrimination and harassment in our higher education institutions.

Title IX federal laws are intended to protect all people, regardless of their sex or gender, from discrimination of any kind in an educational institution. These laws cover all forms of sexual harassment and sexual violence.

All of the Assembly bills in this package passed through the State Assembly Higher Education Committee with bipartisan support and will move on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further review.

“CFA members recognize the power that each of these bills would have in strengthening Title IX policies. Together, these bills can ensure that the Chancellor’s Office implement the recommendations provided by the State Auditor report, which found that CSU management did not adequately or consistently address some allegations of sexual harassment,” said Diane Blair, CFA Secretary and Fresno State professor. These bills can also increase management’s transparency and accountability to address and prevent sexual harassment and discrimination on our campuses, and provide updated sexual harassment trainings for students.

During the hearing, the Committee on Higher Education heard public testimony on why the Assembly bills in this package would bolster Title IX reform.

Andrea Terry shared her public testimony on why she supports Assembly Bill 2987. This CFA co-sponsored bill would provide timely updates on both the outcomes of complaints of sex discrimination and notice of disciplinary actions made against a respondent.

While Terry was teaching at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a young woman confided in Terry about her experiences with sexual assault. She encouraged the student to report the incident using the Title IX system. Regrettably, Terry remarked that her student “went through this emotionally grueling, time-consuming process, only to receive complete silence from the Title IX office for over a year.”

When they both learned that her student’s information had been lost in the system, she was forced to relive her traumatic experiences as she went through the process a second time.

For over a year, the Title IX office remained silent, and the student routinely saw her assailant on a daily basis.

After Terry left to take a position at Sacramento State, she stated that her student’s case was still left unresolved almost three years later.

“The last time I spoke to this student, she was despondent and on the verge of leaving the university,” said Terry. “Her story, and many others like it, show how challenging it is for a survivor trying to navigate the process, with limited information on case status.”

Our members also supported all seven other Assembly bills presented in this legislative bill package that address sexual harassment in higher education institutions.

“We want to make sure these recommendations do not simply check a box, create a continued administrative bloat and/or create a system that further enforces racial, gender, sexual orientation and/or other bias. We also want to reiterate that to create real change, we need solutions that are survivor-focused through prevention and healing – not only punishment,” said Terry.

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