The National Conference on Campus Sexual Assault did not meet expectations for UC Berkeley student and sexual assault survivor Meghan Warner.
"They didn't incorporate student voices," Warner said. "They say they did, but they kind of reached out to students who haven't been involved in this work before."
The conference is being held in Berkeley. The UC Berkeley campus is among dozens of colleges under federal investigation for its handling of sex assault cases.
Warner and other student supporters on Wednesday gathered outside the conference in protest.
Protesters also wrote down messages from sexual assault survivors and lined them on the steps of Wheeler Hall.
Demonstrators said the University of California system should not be held up as a leader in the fight to end campus sexual assault.
"Here we are trying to organize on this issue and we've been working on for so long," said Sophie Karasek, a sexual assault survivor. "And we feel like we're being betrayed."
UC Berkeley officials said the university has done a great deal to improve its response to assaults, and provided the following statement:
"This is a conference for professionals who work in this field -- to provide them with new insights, tools, research , to help them in their daily work. Students have an important voice in this issue and that is why student government leaders were on the conference planning committee, and other students were involved in workshops and presentations."
Jean Elle contributed to this report.