BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 340


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          Date of Hearing:  April 28, 2015


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          AB 340  
          (Weber) - As Amended April 13, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Postsecondary education:  campus climate:  report


          SUMMARY:  Requires the California Community Colleges (CCC) Board  
          of Governors (BOG) and the California State University (CSU)  
          Trustees, and encourages the University of California (UC)  
          Regents, to each generate a report, as specified, pertaining  
          campus climate.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)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.


          2)Requires the CCC BOG and the CSU Trustees, and encourages the  
            UC Regents, to generate a report once every biennium of the  
            legislative session, beginning with the 2017-2018 Regular  
            Session.


          3)Specifies that the report shall include, but not be limited  









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            to, all of the following as to the respective segment:


             a)   The amount spent on campus climate efforts;


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


             c)   Campus developments on all of the following as they may  
               impact campus climate:  i) Gender, ii) Race, iii)  
               Ethnicity, iv) National origin, v) Religion, vi) Sexual  
               orientation, vii) Disability, and viii) Gender identity;  
               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 Jeanne Clery  
               Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime  
               Statistics Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1092(f)) and other hate  
               crime statistics.


          4)Requires the CCC BOG and the CSU Trustees, 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.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Declares it a goal of public higher education that educational  









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            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 change to fully  
            develop his or her potential (Education Code 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  
            subdivision (a) of Section 422.6 of the Penal Code, equal  
            rights and opportunities in the postsecondary institutions of  
            the state (Education Code 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).

          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 federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy  









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            and Campus Crime Statistics Act (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.



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  Background.  Incidents in recent years at the UC and  
          CSU - targeting students of color, and the Lesbian, Gay,  
          Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, investigations of  
          racial and ethnic discrimination, and how sexual assaults and  
          violence have been handled - have greatly highlighted and  
          brought more attention to the need for the UC and CSU to address  
          climate challenges.


          State response.  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 with the goal of continuing to  
          strengthen overall campus climate for our postsecondary  
          institutions of higher learning.  This measure is a result of  
          the Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate Report of  
          October 2014.


          Segment responses.  The UC seeks to create and nurture an  
          atmosphere of respect and inclusion for all; in March 2014 the  
          UC (after a two-year system wide survey), released its campus  









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          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.


          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  









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          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.  This measure is a result of the work  
          of the Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate.  The author  
          states, "In 2014, the select committee sought to examine public  
          safety protocols and practices of California's higher education  
          institutions while exploring solutions to encourage campus  
          safety and promote healthier campus climates.  The select  
          committee's mission was to ensure that the state's college  
          campuses are safe and welcoming environments for all students.   
          As a result, the select committee held three hearings throughout  
          California to examine policies and practices at campuses within  
          a specific region.  The fourth hearing was held at the State  
          Capitol where recommendations were considered by the members of  
          the select committee."


          The author contends that, existing law does not specifically  
          address campus climate and higher education.  This measure would  
          be the appropriate next step in creating some type of oversight  
          of campus climate.  The author states, "By requiring a report on  
          recent developments on campus climate, the three segments of  
          higher education would keep key policymakers informed about new  









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          and ongoing endeavors and developments in regards to campus  
          climate.  It would also offer a level of oversight to ensure  
          that progress is being made at California's public higher  
          education institutions as they work to meet the needs of a  
          changing demographic."


          Policy consideration.  As presently drafted, this measure  
          requires the CCC BOG and the CSU Trustees, and requests the UC  
          Regents, to include data in their respective campus climate  
          reports as to the dollar amount that was spent on campus climate  
          efforts.  Committee staff understands that this requirement may  
          be problematic for the segments to comply with because they  
          currently do not collect or track budget data on campus climate  
          in a way that would be meaningful to fulfill said reporting  
          requirement.  It is unclear whether or not some of the existing  
          resources used for campus climate might have to be diverted in  
          order to adequately track and monitor the amount spent for  
          campus climate.

          Moving forward, the author may wish to consider deleting the  
          requirement to report on the amount spent on campus climate  
          efforts.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          California Association of African-American Superintendents and  
          Administrators


          California Conference of the National Association for the  









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          Advancement of Colored People


          One individual 




          Opposition


          None on file.




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