The University of California announced last Thursday that Kathleen Salvaty would become the first systemwide Title IX Coordinator for the UC.
Title IX is the federal law which prohibits discrimination based on sex in a publicly funded educational program or activity. Salvaty will report directly to UC President Janet Napolitano and coordinate efforts against sexual violence and harassment throughout the university. Salvaty will officially assume her role on Feb. 6.
The creation of the post introduces another layer of administration in the UC system through which it can organize more effectively to combat sexual harassment and assault. In her position, Salvaty will be expected to coordinate efforts to educate faculty, employees and students about sexual harassment and its prevention, as well as oversee the adjudications and sanctions processes against those accused and found guilty of misconduct.
Salvaty formerly worked as the Title IX coordinator for UCLA where she led the responses to reported gender discrimination and directed educational campaigns for students and faculty. Salvaty had also worked for over 15 years on public interest and civil action cases as an attorney in both New York and Los Angeles, tackling issues like police reform and public school funding.
“Hiring Kathleen is a critical next step in making sure our recently overhauled policies to prevent, adjudicate and sanction sexual misconduct at UC are properly, and consistently, carried out,” UC President Napolitano said in a press release. “Her deep expertise and leadership in Title IX compliance will ensure the University remains at the forefront of advancements in this complex area and that each member of our UC community feels safe and respected.”
Salvaty’s hiring comes in the wake of several sexual harassment and assault scandals in the UC system. Though he still holds the position, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced intentions to resign last August after accusations that he had been too lenient in handling numerous faculty sexual harassment cases. Additionally, UC Regent and media mogul Norman Pattiz was recorded making inappropriate comments to a female employee last November, which led to the Regents creating new guidelines for sexual harassment for themselves.
In response to these incidents, President Napolitano has created several initiatives to combat sexual discrimination at the university. Last March, Napolitano created a peer review committee for the system to evaluate sanctions for faculty and other university leaders found guilty of misconduct. Napolitano has also mandated systemwide sexual misconduct training and support for victims of sexual assault and harassment.
Salvaty expressed excitement over her new position and the potential it has to enact systemwide change.
“I’m honored to take on such a critical role, especially for a top-flight public university that continually takes on tough challenges and strives to make its Title IX processes as fair and equitable as possible,” Salvaty said in a press release. “I’m excited to work with the Title IX coordinators systemwide to make even more positive changes and safeguard equal access to education.”