BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 340 (Weber) - Postsecondary education: campus climate:  
          report.
          
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          |Version: July 8, 2015           |Policy Vote: ED. 8 - 0          |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: August 17, 2015   |Consultant: Jillian Kissee      |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.


          Bill  
          Summary:  This bill requires, starting in 2017-18, the  
          California Community Colleges Board of Governors (CCC BOG) and  
          the California State University (CSU) Trustees, and encourages  
          the University of California (UC) Regents, to generate a report  
          every biennium that includes specified information relating to  
          campus climate and post the report on each segment's website.   
          This bill also requires the CSU Trustees and community college  
          district governing boards, and requests the UC Regents, to adopt  
          and publish policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying,  
          as specified.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           The requirement to adopt policies on harassment, intimidation,  
            and bullying could potentially be determined to be a  
            reimbursable state mandate for community college districts  
            which could drive state costs of about $144,000.   







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            Additionally, it could create pressure to increase the CCC  
            mandate block grant to reflect the increase costs of the new  
            mandate.  (Proposition 98)
           The UC and CSU indicate that this bill is largely consistent  
            with current practices and therefore would absorb any  
            associated costs.  Neither UC nor CSU is eligible to claim  
            reimbursement of the costs they incur to comply with state  
            mandates.


          Background:  Existing law provides that it is the state's policy 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, as specified, equal rights and  
          opportunities in the postsecondary institutions of the state.   
          (Education Code  66251)

          Existing law also declares that, consistent with specified  
          federal law provisions, all students have the right to  
          participate fully in the educational process, free from  
          discrimination and harassment.  In addition, it declares that  
          the state'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.  It also declares the Legislature's intent that  
          each postsecondary educational institution undertakes  
          educational activities to counter discriminatory incidents on  
          school grounds and, within constitutional bounds, to minimize  
          and eliminate a hostile environment on school grounds that  
          impair access to equal educational opportunities.  (EC  66252)

          Existing law 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  66302)

          This bill is reflective of the efforts of the Assembly Select  
          Committee on Campus Climate.  The committee issued a report with  
          its recommendations in October 2014 which included that the UC,  
          CSU, and CCC provide an annual report to the Legislature on  
          recent challenges and developments related to campus climate.  








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          Proposed Law:  
            This bill requires, starting in 2017-18, the CCC BOG and the  
          CSU Trustees, and encourages the UC Regents, to generate a  
          report every biennium that includes specified information  
          relating to campus climate and post the report on each segment's  
          website.  The segments are also required to submit the report to  
          the Governor, Attorney General, and the Legislature.  The bill  
          specifies that the BOG must request, not require, information  
          from community college districts and use information from  
          participating districts for the report.  
          Information required for the report includes: new and recent  
          administrative efforts intended to affect campus climate; recent  
          campus program developments that impact campus climate related  
          to gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual  
          orientation, disability, gender identity, and data, including  
          student demographics and crime data, as specified.


          Finally this bill requires that if the CSU Trustees and the  
          governing board of each community college district expend funds  
          to support activities related to campus climate, they adopt and  
          publish policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying.   
          This bill requests the UC Regents to adopt and publish such  
          policies.  




          Staff  
          Comments:  This bill requires each segment to generate a  
          biennium report on campus climate.  It specifically requires the  
          BOG to only request information from community college  
          districts, thereby relieving it from costs that would be  
          incurred if information was required to be obtained from each  
          district.
          This bill also requires that if community college districts and  
          the CSU expend funds on "campus climate" activities, they must  
          adopt and publish policies on harassment, intimidation, and  
          bullying.  Campus climate is defined in the bill as a measure of  
          an individual's experience within a learning environment,  
          specifically focusing on the current attitudes, practices,  
          policies, and behaviors of campus life that impact the success  








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          and retention of all members of a campus community.  This broad  
          definition could capture a wide range of activities for which  
          community college districts expend funds which would trigger the  
          requirement to adopt and publish required policies.  


          If a community college district submits a claim for  
          reimbursement, the Commission on State Mandates could determine  
          activities related this requirement to be a reimbursable based  
          on practical compulsion - that there is no reasonable  
          alternative but to comply with adopting required policies or  
          that the failure to comply with this activity will result in  
          certain and severe penalties.  For example, current law requires  
          that as a condition of receiving state funds for student  
          financial assistance, the state's postsecondary institutions  
          adopt and implement policies to ensure reports of a violent  
          crime, sexual assault, or hate crime are forwarded to the  
          appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as possible.  At an  
          estimated cost of $2,000 per district to develop required  
          policies, reimbursable state mandated costs could be about  
          $144,000 statewide.




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