Title IX documents reveal 14 cases of sexual misconduct at UC Davis in last 2 years

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Fourteen investigations involving UC Davis faculty and staff show that employees were found to have violated UC sexual violence and sexual harassment, or SVSH, policy in the last two years. 

Documents obtained by The Daily Californian from a California Public Records Act, or CPRA, request for UC Title IX investigations revealed instances of unwanted physical advances, comments of a sexual nature and one case of sexual assault by UC Davis employees. All cases were investigated under the revised SVSH policy implemented in 2016, with the exception of two cases that date to before 2016.

UC Davis spokesperson Melissa Blouin said in an email that the campus requires SVSH prevention training via online or in-person sessions, and is committed to a “discrimination-free work and learning environment.”

Of these 14 cases, five were filed by student complainants and the remaining nine by employees. All cases have been resolved through one resignation, seven temporary suspensions, five terminations and one case referred to the external contractor of the respondent. According to the CPRA response letter, approximately 52 percent of the respondents no longer work for the campus.

These documents are part of a series of CPRA requests made by the Daily Cal to update its database of more than 130 cases of sexual misconduct from all UC campuses.

The following story details five of the 14 Title IX investigations the Daily Cal received. All identifying information — including names of respondents, complainants and witnesses — was redacted from these documents. 

Investigation concluded June 2016

A former volunteer club sport coach was found to have violated UC Davis SVSH policy after a Title IX investigation substantiated the claim that he sexually assaulted a member of the club in May 2014.

The complainant, a then-undergraduate student, alleged that the respondent touched her inappropriately by groping her chest and putting his hand down her pants without her consent after insisting he stay the night at her apartment.

According to the report, the complainant allowed the respondent to stay on the floor of her apartment after a night out with other club members, but the respondent asked her to lay on the floor with him. He then began to grope her, to which the complainant responded, “Stop. Don’t touch me.”

The respondent denied all allegations, but the investigation found that his behavior constituted “harassing actions.”

This investigation resulted in the employee’s termination.

Investigation concluded July 2016

Six undergraduate interns within the respondent’s university-affiliated organization — the name of which has been redacted — alleged that the respondent made sexual jokes and innuendo, watched videos containing sexual content and “organized performances on campus that were sexual in nature.”

This investigation was outsourced to Ellis Buehler Makus, a law firm that investigates work- and campus-related complaints, to conduct an “impartial” investigation of the allegations. The complainants alleged that the respondent encouraged interns to regularly make offensive, sexual jokes about their work.

According to the report, the respondent violated UC Davis SVSH policy, as his conduct was “offensive to reasonable people including several interns, faculty, and UCD staff.”

This case ended with the resignation of the respondent.

Investigation concluded March 2017

In another investigation, the complainant alleged that the respondent, her supervisor at the time, directed inappropriate comments of a sexual and flirtatious nature at her.

In mid-October 2016, the respondent and complainant engaged in a conversation about winning the lottery, in which the respondent implied he was wealthy. According to the report, the complainant jokingly said, “Cool. What’s up with a loan or something?” to which the respondent replied, “What’s up with you and me?”

The complainant and a witness of the incident took this to mean the respondent was suggesting an exchange of money for sex.

“Respondent’s decision to make sexually suggestive comments to her on two different occasions created an intimidating and offensive work environment,” according to the report.

The allegations were ultimately substantiated by the investigation, and the respondent was later terminated.

Investigation concluded June 2017

A faculty member was found to have violated UC Davis SVSH policy after a Latinx staff member working for the respondent at the time alleged that he inappropriately touched her on multiple occasions.

The complainant alleged that in or about October 2016, the respondent slapped her on the buttocks, and between November and December 2016, he poked her in the stomach and/or ribs on multiple occasions. The investigator, Enriqueta Rico, said in the report that the manager-subordinate relationship that existed between the parties and the nature of the physical conduct were both considered, and the investigation determined that a reasonable person would have found the conduct to be “intimidating or offensive.”

The investigation resulted in a one-month suspension without pay for the respondent.

Investigation concluded May 2017

A staff member at UC Davis alleged that in April 2017, her then-supervisor touched her thigh, exposed his penis to the complainant, and pulled the complainant’s hand toward his exposed penis. She also alleged that the respondent sent unwelcome text messages to her personal cell phone.

The complainant initially reported the incident to her manager at the redacted organization, and the respondent was placed on leave for an undisclosed amount of time.

All of the complainant’s allegations were substantiated in the investigation, but the text messages were determined to not be of a sexual nature. According to the report, although the physical conduct was limited to a single incident, it was “severe” and “interfered with the Complainant’s employment on both the day in question and going forward.”

The respondent was terminated from his position after this investigation.

Amanda Bradford is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.