Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. The alleged sexual assault victim, who asked to go by the pseudonym Vera, said it took her more than 70 days to get a no-contact order against the accused male student, and that the school's investigation, which was supposed to be completed in two months, instead lasted close to four. Once UCSF decided the accused had violated the university's policy on sexual assault, it took another two months to decide on a punishment, according to emails obtained by The Huffington Post.
I was willing to take breaks in between my rotations," Vera said in an interview, referring to her work as a pharmacy student. The most they've done in this entire process is issue this no-contact order. A June report by a state auditor concluded that two other UC campuses, Berkeley and Los Angeles, "did not consistently complete investigations in a timely manner. Experts also say that UCSF's upfront request for blanket access to the therapy records of an alleged sexual assault victim raises serious red flags.
In late October, Vera reported to the university and local police that a fellow student had sexually assaulted her while she was incapacitated from drinking alcohol. The male student attempted to stay the night with her on Oct. She said she only realized they'd had intercourse when she found a semen-filled condom in her trash, and when he told her the following day, "We kinda sorta had sex. The same week Vera reported an assault, she began seeking counseling through the university's health and counseling services.
A therapist asked her to allow a dean access to information about her mental health treatment. She revoked this access in December after consulting with SurvJustice , a nonprofit that advocates for sexual assault victims. In December, UO transferred a female student's medical files to the office of the school's general counsel, prior to her filing a lawsuit against the university over her alleged sexual assault by three men's basketball players.
The controversy prompted state-level legislation , currently in committee in the Oregon Senate, intended to block what might be considered the unethical use of student therapy records. Brian Mistler, associate dean of students and director of health services at the Ringling College of Art and Design, told HuffPost that even if a school has the legal right to review a student's therapy records, "allowing the release of this information will have a terribly chilling effect on use of counseling services.
However, he said, it can still have a "really dangerous effect. In a situation where a waiver is requested up front, she said, it would be "questionable about whether it's totally voluntary.
The accused student believed he had Vera's consent for intercourse, according to the same report, and he supposedly floated the possibility that Vera "sought to minimize her responsibility for having [casual sex]," or that she was attempting "to gain a competitive edge. When asked to comment about the alleged "competitive edge" remarks, a lawyer for the accused student said that was "not [an] accurate" representation of what the student said. Chung also said her client "cooperated with the university" in scheduling requirements.
The university concluded after the investigation that the accused student did not have Vera's consent to have sex, and that Vera "was incapacitated -- sleeping or unconscious -- at the time [the accused] penetrated her. UCSF let the student wait until he'd finished his classes at the end of March to respond to the charges. He ultimately pleaded no contest on April A week later, the school decided to suspend the student for one year, starting on April Vera plans to appeal for a harsher sanction.
She filed two federal complaints against UCSF, including a Title IX filing on April 1, before the school decided to suspend the student but after the investigation process had already stretched on twice as long as it was supposed to. The value of the sanctions diminishes the closer the student gets to graduation, said Sokolow. He said it's possible the Department of Education will find UCSF to be in violation of Title IX, based on its failure to meet federal expectations of how quickly a school should handle a sexual assault case.
The Education Department has said sexual assault investigations should take approximately 60 calendar days , though that may be extended for complex cases.
UC system policy also says these investigations should be done within two months, although it allows for timeline extensions and doesn't place limits on how long these extensions can be. Another UC campus, Santa Barbara, was criticized last year for letting a student accused of rape wait until after final exams to withdraw from the school as he faced a sanction for his offense.