By CS Staff · September 16, 2014
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — As many as six current and former University of California, Santa Barbara have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, claiming that the university violated Clery Act and Title IX requirements.
The complainants accuse the university of discouraging the reporting of sexual assault. The complaint also claims that the university did not sanction students admitting to sexually assaulting fellow students and created a hostile environment by allowing alleged attackers remain in classes with their victims, Daily Nexus reports.
The lead complainant, Myra Crimmel, a recent UCSB graduate, was assaulted in September 2013. In the complaint, Crimmel says that she named her assailant when she reported the incident to her crisis counselor at the university’s Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE), as well as to Judicial Affairs. She claims that she was told by both offices that the evidence was so severe that UCSB had an obligation to pursue her case
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Crimmel said Judicial Affairs assured her that the investigation would take no more than 60 days to complete. In November 2013, after receiving statements from Crimmel’s alleged assailant, Judicial Affairs offered the student the option of accepting university sanctions.
If he admitted wrongdoing, the alleged attacker would be suspended for two quarters. However, if he denied the accusations, the university would hold a hearing where the accused could risk expulsion.
Crimmel’s alleged perpetrator then hired a lawyer. However, the alleged victim’s CARE crisis counselor assured her that the lawyers would only serve in an advisory role. However, after the attorneys were involved, various meetings between the suspect and Judicial affairs were canceled, causing a delay in the university’s decision, according to the complaint.
Crimmel claims that school officials informed her that her alleged attacker would not be able to enroll in future classes with her, but during Winter classes, the accused was in one of her classes. Mid-way through the quarter, the alleged assailant requested a hearing with Crimmel.
During that time, Crimmel said that her CARE counselor and Judicial Affair discouraged her from going through with the hearing, ultimately causing Crimmel not to go through with the hearing.
Judicial Affairs then informed Crimmel’s father that Crimmel’s alleged assailant refused to admit guilt and that neither the incident nor the sanctions would appear on the student’s transcript or criminal record.
School officials stated that they take reports of sexual assault “extremely seriously.”
If found to be in violation of Clery Act and Title IX requirements, UCSB could face a federal investigation and steep financial penalties.
The End Rape on Campus organization helped UCSB students file the complaint against the university. The organization has also helped students at the University of Toledo, the University of Michigan and Valparaiso University Law School file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education.