BAMN holds protest against alleged rape case appeal

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UC Berkeley’s BAMN chapter held a protest Thursday afternoon demanding that a student accused of rape and sexual harassment be kept off campus.

About 20 protesters gathered in front of Sproul Hall at noon, calling for Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande — who can grant appeals to students involved in sexual misconduct cases — to resign, alleging that his involvement in the alleged rapist’s appeal process was unfounded. According to a flyer that BAMN handed out, there is no basis or evidence for granting the respondent — the accused individual — an appeal.

The protesters marched to California Hall about 1 p.m., where they banged on locked doors, chanting, “We support Stephanie,” in reference to campus sophomore Stephanie Nicole Garcia, who accused the respondent of raping her in October 2014.

“(The protesters) do have a right to say what they want to say,” said ASUC Student Advocate Leah Romm. “But the impact these statements have may actually be the opposite of what they’re intending.”

According to the old campus sexual misconduct policy, which applies to cases that began investigation before 2016, such as Garcia’s, both the complainant and the respondent are allowed to make an appeal to the vice chancellor for Student Affairs regarding the sanctions imposed by the dean of students. The dean determines sanctions after consulting with the hearing body — composed of students, faculty and staff — which determines the responsible party.

The respondent’s appeal must be based on new information that was not available at the time of the hearing, significant procedural error or other good causes.

“Under the process he is being adjudicated under, he has the right to appeal,” Romm said. “He’s not doing anything he doesn’t have the right to.”

Romm added that Garcia has the right to file her own appeal of the misconduct hearing’s outcome as well.

The “yes means yes” law, enacted in September 2014 throughout California, holds that in all cases of sexual contact, both parties must be conscious, affirmative and mutually consensual.

“This is a test case for ‘yes means yes.’ In past cases with press coverage, the person has not been expelled,” Garcia said. “What does it matter if the university has so much evidence and does not uphold ‘yes means yes’ and the law?”

Garcia said she will be filing a federal lawsuit against the campus for what she alleges is a violation of Title IX and the Clery Act by privileging the alleged rapist over her.

“If people want the truth, we have the evidence and resources to show them,” Garcia said.

A UC Berkeley spokesperson declined to comment.

In accordance with UC policy, student conduct records are confidential.

Contact Sareen Habeshian and Haruka Senju at [email protected].

A previous version of this article misquoted ASUC Student Advocate Leah Romm as saying Stephanie Garcia has the right to file her own appeal in response to the alleged rapist’s. In fact, Romm said that Garcia has the right to appeal the outcome of the misconduct hearing.