UC regents on outgoing colleague accused of sexual misconduct Norman Pattiz: ‘I hope you’re watching’

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Phillip Downey/File

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The UC Board of Regents met Thursday to address committee reports and recommendations, including a resolution of appreciation for UC Regent Norman Pattiz, who announced that he will retire in February after several calls for his resignation arose over lewd comments.

UC Regent Ellen Tauscher, who will assume Pattiz’s current responsibilities as chair of the Regents’ Oversight Committee and National Laboratory LLCs, moved to adopt a resolution for Norman Pattiz, a symbolic action to honor his time on the board.

Tauscher remarked that it was “unfortunate” that Pattiz could not be at the meeting and commented on the contributions he made during his 16-year tenure with the regents.

“(Pattiz) enabled the university to maintain its commitment to the quality of scientific and technological research performed at the laboratories, and to ensure the security of the United States of America” Tauscher said during the meeting. “(He) has been a pivotal figure on the board.”

Pattiz was recorded asking an actress if he could hold her breasts at his podcast studio in February 2016, creating a hotbed of controversy for the university.

He has denied that the recorded comments made last year were sexual harassment, calling them a “bad joke.” In the weeks after the first audio recording surfaced, an additional recording was leaked in which Pattiz could be heard describing pubic hair and pornographic films to colleagues.

During the UC regents’ November meeting, dozens of students called for Pattiz’s removal from the board. At the time, Pattiz maintained that he had no intention of resigning.

The resolution of appreciation for Pattiz passed unopposed at the Thursday meeting.

Tauscher added that Pattiz worked “significantly” with laboratory directors who certify to the U.S. president that the nuclear weapons stockpile is safe and reliable every year — a role that Tauscher explained was a public trust that the board performs.

“Norm, wherever you are, I hope you’re watching,” said board chair George Kieffer during the meeting.

The meeting also featured a public comment section, during which several university members, including three UC Berkeley students, voiced their thoughts and complaints.

Rigel Robinson, ASUC external affairs vice president, appeared before the board to note the severity of underfunding on UC campuses. He added that through his experiences with legislators in Sacramento, he has learned that individual campus testimonies and scenarios register most with lawmakers.

Robinson expressed his gratitude to the chancellors who appeared before the board Wednesday, despite his disagreeing with some of their views on the tuition hike. This included Chancellor Carol Christ, who spoke in front of the board supporting the tuition increase and criticizing the vote’s delay.

“I hope that over the next few months we can have more moments … with specific chancellors coming to the table and talking about issues that they see affecting their own students on the ground,” Robinson said.

The board voted to postpone the vote to increase in-state tuition by $342 and nonresident tuition by $978 until March and May, respectively, after UC President Janet Napolitano urged the board to reconsider the vote at a later time.

Ani Vahradyan is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.