Sexual assault roundtable discussion focuses on the UCSB Campus

Nov 12, 2014

Santa Barbara County politicians, UCSB leaders, and local law enforcement representatives came together Wednesday to discuss sexual assaults.
Credit Anett Hurtado

Several Santa Barbara County political leaders are working to address the issue of sexual assaults at UC Santa Barbara. A roundtable discussion on the topic took place there Wednesday. 

Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) is the chair of California Assembly Higher Education Committee. He and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) organized the discussion.

UCSB is the second University of California campus to host this type of discussion. UC Berkeley was the location of a formal committee meeting in September. Wednesday's meeting was not formal because of the legislative Calendar.

Williams says an estimated one in five women will experience a sexual assault during their college career, but fewer than five percent of those will be reported to law enforcement.

The Assemblymember said when it comes to the state's UC and CSU systems, both are in need of improvements—specifically in how the schools punish the students found guilty of committing the crimes.

"I have been looking at different institutions, and the fact is most institutions are not doing a very good job—UCSB is just doing a worse job," said Williams.

Records show 42 sexual assault victims chose to take their cases through the UCSB judicial process, according to Williams. He says despite those cases, not one perpetrator was dismissed by the university.

The Assemblyman says the university has developed excellent prevention programs in recent years, but problems with effective enforcement undermine that effort.