UC Davis student files petition to UC Board of Regents regarding Title IX case

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A UC Davis student filed a petition Thursday in the Alameda County Superior Court to the UC Board of Regents after he was issued a two-year suspension from the UC system for allegedly violating the UC Davis Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, or SVSH, Policy and the UC Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline.

The student, who is identified by the pseudonym “John Doe,” aims to “redress the improper administrative findings and decisions made by a single investigator,” according to the petition filed by Doe and his legal team.

Doe’s lawyer, Mark Hathaway, declined to comment about the petition.

Doe received a letter Feb. 6, 2018 informing him of reports that he had allegedly violated the UC and UC Davis policies Dec. 2, 2017. The Title IX investigation was completed May 23, 2018, and Doe was found more likely than not to have engaged in nonconsensual oral sex and sexual intercourse with a UC Davis undergraduate student. On June 29, 2018 Doe appealed these findings, and after an Aug. 27, 2018 hearing, Doe was issued a two-year suspension from the UC system.

Doe filed the petition on the basis that the decisions about the case were made “without providing all the evidence and witness names, without an opportunity to question the complainant or adverse witnesses at a live hearing before impartial adjudicators, and without providing any reasonable opportunity for Petitioner to present a defense,” according to the petition.

UC Davis Chief Compliance Officer Wendi Delmendo said in an email that all students who allegedly violate SVSH policy are evaluated under the same policies.

“All reports of possible violations by students of the University’s policy prohibiting sexual violence and sexual harassment are handled under the UC SVSH policy, the local UC Davis SVSH policy and the UC Davis student adjudication framework,” Delmendo said in the email.

The petition challenges the legality of the SVSH policy under which Doe was investigated. Doe and his legal team argue that the policy “violates the requirements of a fair process.” The petition also says the policies and procedures “fail to afford accused students due process and fail to comply with OCR (Office for Civil Rights) guidance and Title IX.”

One of the listed allegations in the petition is that the SVSH policy does not provide “an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation” because of its use of a single-investigator model in Title IX cases at UC Davis. In a single-investigator model, one individual is responsible for investigating and making findings about the case. The petition argues that this decision should not be left to a single person acting as an “investigator, prosecutor, and fact-finder.”

Contact Maya Akkaraju at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju ‏.