Former UC Irvine employee Nikishna Polequaptewa found to have violated UC Policy on Sexual Harassment

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Nikishna Polequaptewa, a former student affairs officer at UC Irvine, was dismissed in March 2014 for violating the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment, according to documents obtained by The Daily Californian in a Public Records Act request. Polequaptewa’s is at least the 132nd case of sexual misconduct by UC employees since October 2010.

A report, prepared by Theresa Gerrior, a senior investigator at the UC Irvine Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, found Polequaptewa to have violated the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment by subjecting the complainant to “unwelcome sexual advances” and creating a “hostile work environment.”

Polequaptewa could not be reached for comment.

Polequaptewa was a director at the UC Irvine American Indian Resource Program, and his employment was terminated in 2014, according to UC Irvine spokesperson Tom Vasich.

The investigation found that Polequaptewa, listed as the respondent, asked to kiss the complainant while alone “at approximately midnight, on an isolated floor” of a hotel Oct. 31, 2013. The complainant stated that after the incident, the complainant was afraid to return to campus because of the complainant’s fear of Polequaptewa, according to the report.

According to the report, Polequaptewa stated that Oct. 31, 2013, the complainant directed “subtle flirtatious attention” toward him that made him feel uncomfortable. Polequaptewa’s notice of dismissal found that the claimant’s account of events was “credible” and Polequaptewa demonstrated a “profound lack of judgment and disregard for established policies.”

“The University takes any report of sexual misconduct seriously. We have on-campus resources to assist complainants and respondents, (and the) OEOD office makes a recommendation based on all the evidence on hand,” Vasich said. “Our campus is committed to maintaining an environment where all students, faculty and staff are protected from sexual harassment.”

Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.

A previous version of this article attributed Polequaptewa’s account of the Oct. 31, 2013 incident to the complaint. In fact, Polequaptewa’s account of the Oct. 31, 2013 incident is part of the complaint report.