UC Berkeley student barred from graduation for Title IX violation, files petition

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A UC Berkeley student filed a petition in court against the campus and the UC Board of Regents after being prevented from walking at graduation over an alleged Title IX violation, claiming a “failed system” and a lack of due process.

The student — who goes by the pseudonym “John Doe” intends to fight Title IX charges that will prevent them from partaking in official graduation functions and ceremonies.

The Title IX report was filed over a “private interaction” that occurred in May 2017 in Shanghai, China, involving Doe and a nonstudent complainant, according to the petition for writ of mandamus filed by Doe and his legal team. Doe was participating in a UC Education Abroad Program at the time of the incident.

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore declined to comment, citing that matters regarding student investigations and discipline are confidential.

“UC attorneys will be reviewing the document and will provide their responses in court filings,” Gilmore said in an email. “Regarding our processes, the campus’s procedures for investigating, adjudicating and imposing sanctions are designed to provide a fair process for both complainants and respondents.”

On April 3, 2018, the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination and the Center for Student Conduct received information that Doe allegedly engaged in “dating violence” and “nonconsensual” sex with the complainant, according to the petition. This information was given to the offices by an unidentified source.

The petition argues that Doe has been “improperly excluded” from graduation ceremonies, because the Title IX findings were “not supported by any evidence” and they were not given a hearing.

The writ of mandamus — an order from a court used to compel an agency to correct an abuse of discretion or properly fulfill its official duties — addresses the accusation of sexual misconduct. The purpose of this petition for writ of mandamus is to change the administrative action of the campus to permit graduation attendance.

Doe’s lawyer, Mark Hathaway, also declined to comment.  

Contact Shelby Mayes at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @shelbymayesdc.