BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  March 15, 2016


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          AB 1653  
          (Weber) - As Introduced January 13, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Postsecondary education:  campus climate


          SUMMARY:  Requires the California Community Colleges (CCC) Board  
          of Governors (BOG), the California State University (CSU)  
          Trustees, and the governing body of each private postsecondary  
          educational institution in the state, and encourages the  
          University of California (UC) Regents, to each generate a  
          report, as specified, pertaining to campus climate; and,  
          requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide  
          guidance to the governing bodies of the specified postsecondary  
          institutions on compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of  
          Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery  
          Act) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization  
          of 2013.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires the CCC BOG and the CSU Trustees, and the governing  
            body of each private postsecondary educational institution, as  
            defined, and encourages the UC Regents, to generate a report  
            once every biennium of the legislative session, beginning with  
            the 2017-2018 Regular Session.


          2)Specifies that the report shall include, all of the following  
            as to the respective segment:








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             a)   New and recent administrative efforts intended to affect  
               campus climate;


             b)   Recent campus program developments that impact campus  
               climate related to the following:  i) Gender, ii) Race,  
               iii) Ethnicity, iv) National origin, v) Religion, vi)  
               Sexual orientation, vii) Disability, and viii) Gender  
               identity; 


             c)   New and recent administrative efforts to reduce student  
               food insecurity and student homelessness; and,


             d)   Data, including, but not limited to, both of the  
               following:  i) Student demographic data, and ii) Crime  
               data, including, but not limited to, the data required to  
               be kept and disclosed in accordance with the Clery Act (20  
               U.S.C. Sec. 1092(f)) and the VAWA Reauthorization of 2013  
               (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1092(f)(8)), and other hate crime  
               statistics.


          3)Requires the CCC BOG, the CSU Trustees, and the governing body  
            of each private postsecondary educational institution, as  
            defined, and encourages the UC Regents, to each post the  
            respective segment's report on its Internet Web site; and, to  
            send said report to the Governor, the Attorney General, and  
            the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature.


          4)Specifies that the CCC BOG shall request the information, as  
            specified for the report, from community college districts and  
            that the CCC BOG report shall be based on data made available  
            from participating community college districts.









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          5)Requires the DOJ to provide guidance to the CCC BOG, the CSU  
            Trustees, the UC Regents, and the governing body of each  
            private postsecondary educational institution, as defined, on  
            compliance with the Clery Act and the VAWA Reauthorization of  
            2013.


          6)Specifies that if the CSU Trustees and the governing board of  
            each community college district expend funds to support  
            activities related to campus climate, as defined, the Trustees  
            and the governing board of each community college district  
            shall adopt and publish policies on harassment, intimidation,  
            and bullying to be included within the rules and regulations  
            governing student behavior within their respective segments of  
            public postsecondary education.


          7)Requests the UC Regents to adopt and publish policies on  
            harassment, intimidation, and bullying to be included within  
            their rules and regulations governing student behavior.


          8)Declares that the Legislature intends that rules and  
            regulations governing student conduct be published, at a  
            minimum, on the Internet Web site of each public postsecondary  
            educational campus and as part of any printed material  
            covering those rules and regulations within the respective  
            public postsecondary education system.


          9)Defines "campus climate" to mean a measure of an individual's  
            experience within a learning environment, specifically on the  
            current attitudes, practices, policies, and behaviors of  
            campus life that impact the success and retention of all  
            members of a campus community.


          10)Specifies that if the Commission on State Mandates determines  








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            that this act contains costs mandated by the state,  
            reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those  
            costs shall be made, as specified.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Declares it a goal of public higher education that educational  
            equity be achieved through educational environments in which  
            each person, regardless of race, gender, gender identity,  
            gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability or  
            economic circumstances has a reasonable chance to fully  
            develop his or her potential (Education Code (EC) Section  
            66010.2).


          2)Provides that it is the policy of the State of California to  
            afford all persons, regardless of disability, gender, gender  
            identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity,  
            religion, sexual orientation, or any other basis that is  
            contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in Penal  
            Code Section 422.6(a), equal rights and opportunities in the  
            postsecondary institutions of the state (EC Section 66251). 


          3)Provides that all students have the right to participate fully  
            in the educational process, free from discrimination and  
            harassment and that California's postsecondary educational  
            institutions have an affirmative obligation to combat racism,  
            sexism, and other forms of bias, and a responsibility to  
            provide equal educational opportunity; and declares the  
            Legislature's intent that each postsecondary educational  
            institution undertake educational activities to counter  
            discriminatory incidents on school grounds and, within  
            constitutional bounds, to minimize and eliminate a hostile  
            environment on school grounds that impairs the access of  
            students to equal educational opportunities (EC Section  
            66252).








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          4)Requests the UC Regents, CSU Trustees, and the governing board  
            of each community college district to adopt and publish  
            policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying to be  
            included within the rules and regulations governing student  
            behavior within their respective segments of public  
            postsecondary education (EC Section 66302).


          5)The Clery Act requires colleges and universities, as a  
            condition of federal student aid program participation, to  
            publish annual campus security reports, maintain crime logs,  
            provide timely warnings of crimes that present a public safety  
            risk, and maintain ongoing crime statistics.


          6)The VAWA Reauthorization of 2013 recognizes native tribes'  
            inherent power to exercise "special domestic violence criminal  
            jurisdiction" over certain defendants, regardless of their  
            Indian or non-Indian status, who commit acts of domestic  
            violence or dating violence or violate certain protection  
            orders in Indian country. 


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  Background.  Out of concern regarding recent campus  
          climate issues at various campuses of higher education, in the  
          past few years there have been several oversight hearings  
          convened by this Committee to look at campus climate issues.   
          Additionally, in the 2013-14 Legislative Session, the Speaker of  
          the Assembly created the Assembly Select Committee on Campus  
          Climate; which convened several hearings in 2014 and 2015, with  
          the goal of continuing to strengthen overall campus climate for  
          our postsecondary institutions of higher learning.  The Select  
          Committee issued a report in October of 2014.  Additionally,  
          released in July of 2015, Report 2015-032 by the State Auditor  








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          recommended that the Legislature should require the DOJ to  
          provide guidance regarding compliance with the requirements of  
          the Clery Act and the VAWA Reauthorization of 2013.


          This measure is the result of recommendations from the two  
          aforementioned reports.


          Public postsecondary institutions of higher learning response to  
          campus climate.  The UC seeks to create and nurture an  
          atmosphere of respect and inclusion for all; in March 2014 the  
          UC (after a two-year systemwide survey), released its campus  
          climate study.  The study found many things, including, but not  
          limited to the following:  1) 79% of all respondents were  
          comfortable or very comfortable with the campus climate at UC,  
          while 7% were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable; 2) more than  
          half of all respondents thought that the overall campus climate  
          was very respectful or respectful of various races/ethnicities  
          at UC; and, 3) more work must be done to address issues faced by  
          certain groups - underrepresented minority respondents were less  
          comfortable with the overall climate and workplace climate than  
          were white respondents and other people of color and transgender  
          respondents were less comfortable with the overall climate at  
          their campus than were men and women respondents.


          To note:  1) many UC campuses have hired staff focused on campus  
          climate issues; 2) many programs are offered to reduce the  
          impact of unconscious bias in hiring and promotions, and to  
          identify and remove institutional barriers to inclusion an  
          career development; 3) resource and student service centers have  
          been established at many campuses for certain populations (such  
          as undocumented students, veteran students, and LGBT students);  
          4) anti-hate initiatives exist at many UC campuses that seek to  
          educate students; and, 5) many UC campuses have student-led and  
          cultural activities.










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          The CSU is committed to maintaining an inclusive community that  
          values diversity and fosters tolerance and mutual respect.  It  
          is CSU policy to provide equal opportunity for all persons  
          regardless of race, religious creed, color, national origin,  
          ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical  
          condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender,  
          gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, and  
          veteran status.  


          The CSU has policies in place to help ensure that their students  
          and faculty are protected; campuses must implement preventative  
          education programs and make available victim resources,  
          including comprehensive victim services.  Information regarding  
          these programs must be included in:  1) orientation programs for  
          new students, faculty and staff; 2) training for students who  
          serve as advisors in residence halls; and, 3) training for  
          student athletes and coaches.  


          Additionally, on a campus by campus basis, the CSU has created  
          an advisory body of non-CSU experts to advise and opine to the  
          CSU how to strengthen and enforce existing polices, as well as  
          advise if there is a need to create more policies that will  
          allow the CSU to maintain its policy of protection for all.


          Purpose of this measure.  According to the author, "With the  
          lack of involvement, and funding of the California Postsecondary  
          Education Commission, coordination between segments of higher  
          education has diminished."  The author contends that each campus  
          handles campus climate in different methods; some campuses have  
          successful programs that other campuses may want to replicate on  
          their respective campus.


          The author states, "By requiring a report on recent developments  
          on campus climate, California's higher education institutions  
          would keep key policymakers informed about new and ongoing  








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          endeavors and developments in regards to campus climate.  This  
          bill would also allow the general public (students, community  
          organizations, staff, and faculty) to have additional  
          information to help navigate and find information as well as  
          resources to succeed in higher education."


          Policy consideration.  To note, in recent years, California  
          student safety laws, as outlined in EC Sections 67380 - 67386,  
          have increased various reporting obligations to the  
          postsecondary institutions of higher learning (segments).   
          According to the public segments, neither the Legislature nor  
          any appropriate state agencies have provided the segments any  
          guidance on the meaning of the various terms and reporting  
          mandates, as contained in said code sections. 


          The continued changes to the state student safety laws pose  
          potential implementation problems for the segments.  Committee  
          staff understands that the segments have understanding of the  
          various reporting requirements set forth in the Clery Act, but  
          not necessarily recent changes to the state student safety laws.  
           


          Moving forward, instead of mandating DOJ to provide guidance on  
          the Clery Act and the VAWA Reauthorization of 2013 to the  
          segments, the author may wish to instead mandate that the DOJ  
          provide guidance to the segments on the state imposed laws.


          Previous and related legislation.  AB 1654 (Santiago) of 2016,  
          which passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee with a  
          vote of 7 - 0 on March 1, 2016, would, among others, task the  
          DOJ to provide guidance to colleges on the Clery Act.


          AB 340 (Weber) of 2015, which was vetoed by the Governor, was  
          similar in nature to the provisions contained in this measure.








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          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association


          Black Parallel School Board of Sacramento


          California Federation of Teachers


          The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration




          Opposition


          None on file.




          Analysis Prepared by:Jeanice Warden / HIGHER ED. / (916)  
          319-3960













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