Faculty leaders from the Los Angeles Community College District are calling for a major revamp in the way sexual harassment complaints are addressed. In response to a recent legal ruling, a professor has been awarded $10 million after a jury determined that the district did not adequately address her allegations of sexual misconduct against a high-ranking administrator.
Calling for an Approach that Focuses on Survivors
The faculty has made a request that highlights the importance of adopting a survivor-centered approach and conducting an independent review of sexual harassment policies throughout the nine-campus system. Angela Echeverri, the president of the Academic Senate, expresses doubts regarding the efficacy of the current measures and emphasizes the need for external oversight.
Resolution Adopted by the Academic Senate
In a recent development, the Academic Senate has taken a significant step by passing a resolution that urges the Board of Trustees to strengthen their efforts in preventing sexual harassment and discrimination. They emphasized the need for a prompt and impartial investigation of complaints, as well as regular evaluations of policies to ensure their effectiveness and compliance. In response to a report released in October that outlined the civil case against the district, this resolution was put forward.
Information About the Court Case Against the District
In a recent case, Howard Irvin, a former vice president at Los Angeles Southwest College, has been accused of sexual harassment by Sabrena Turner-Odom, an English professor. During the hearings, Turner-Odom provided testimony regarding Irvin’s misconduct during meetings. In December 2022, Irvin was dismissed from his position, despite the district’s appeal to the verdict and denial of the allegations during the trial. The district is currently dealing with a number of lawsuits that involve allegations of retaliation and discrimination linked to Irvin.
Los Angeles Community College District faculty leaders are advocating for a revamp in handling sexual harassment complaints, following a $10 million award for a professor’s case. They also urge a survivor-centered approach and independent policy reviews. The Academic Senate has passed a resolution urging the Board of Trustees to strengthen efforts.