The University of California Santa Cruz was founded in 1965 and is one of the ten University of California campuses across the state. The school overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay from its campus just south of San Francisco; the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education ranks UC Santa Cruz as an R1 school, and it's considered to have “very high research activity.” Its campus was designed with ten small colleges, similar to how Oxford and Cambridge are set up. When the school opened, there were 650 students enrolled. In the fall of 2019, nearly 20,000 students were enrolled, between graduate and undergraduate studies.
As the school is a public university, it receives federal funds and is subsequently responsible for following Title IX guidelines that the Department of Education outlines. Title IX was passed in 1972 with the intention of protecting students from any discrimination “on the basis of sex.” The meaning of “on the basis of sex” has shifted and changed over the years to where it now includes some forms of sexual misconduct and harassment.
The three areas that Title IX regulates are:
- quid-pro-quo harassment (attempting to trade favors for sex);
- sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking; or
- unwelcome conduct so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to deny equal access to education based on sex.
Although the guidelines stay the same, the Department of Education (DOE) interpretation of the regulations may change over time. Most recently, Betsy DeVos issued new guidance in Spring 2020. University of California Santa Cruz, along with all other colleges and universities throughout the United States, had to update their policies to comply with the new guidance. Let's take a look at their specific policies and processes.
College Sexual Misconduct and Title IX at the University of California Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz)
If you or a loved one is facing college sexual misconduct or Title IX allegations, it's imperative that you first make use of the resources that UC Santa Cruz provides. Availing yourself of the available resources is a wise step, especially when it comes to allegations as serious as Title IX or sexual misconduct matters. They are both serious charges and can have a long-term impact on your academic, professional, and personal future. The student handbook is a good place to begin as it will outline general policy and procedures at UC Santa Cruz. Another great resource is a flowchart that shows the various steps in the proceedings, depending on your circumstances.
The revised Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH) policy offers updated information for the entire University of California System. The policy states that the school will both comply with federal regulations and pursue violation areas that are now outside of the Title IX issues. They are clear that they do not agree with all of DeVos' changes to the guidance, and so they will only process DOE-Covered Conduct under the DOE Grievance Process when they must. Everything else will fall into a regular proceeding as it stood before. Appendix IV outlines the specific process for determining if an allegation falls into DOE-Covered Conduct.
It's important to understand that the student handbook at the University of California Santa Cruz has not been updated with Title IX information. However, the university published two appendices that offer helpful information about the proceedings for Title IX situations (pp 3-35 review the timeline and the proceedings) and for allegations that are non-DOE covered conduct (pp 3-20 offer specifics).
If the alleged behavior isn't within DOE-Covered Conduct, UCSC may suspend you temporarily. In contrast, with Title IX allegations, the standard is that you only be “restricted to the extent necessary.” This means that the school needs a reasonable cause to believe that your participation in activities or presence at specific parts of campus might threaten the physical health or safety of someone on campus.
For both types of allegations, the school allows students to select an advisor to assist them at all stages of the process, from the hearing to the investigation, to an appeal, if necessary.
What's at Stake With Allegations?
If the allegations brought against you are not cleared, there can be many long-term consequences for your future. Whether the allegation is of college sexual misconduct or of Title IX violation, it should be taken with the utmost care and attention. Often, universities expel or suspend students accused of these violations so that they can stay Title IX-compliant and continue to receive federal (or donor) funding. An expulsion or suspension usually lives on your permanent academic record and can impact your ability to get accepted to medical school, law school, professional jobs, and more. This type of record can also decrease your chance of receiving scholarships, grants, and fellowships. It also may make transferring to another school a challenge. With as much time and financial investment as you've put into your academic career, you don't want to throw it all away now.
Beyond these collateral consequences, there are other areas you risk if you aren't cleared from the allegations. For example, gossip and rumors can damage your reputation, even before the proceedings begin. You need someone who can advocate for you and ensure that you receive the due process you deserve. Additionally, suspension or expulsion can lead to losing some of your financial aid, leaving your finances even more damaged by the allegations.
Expert Title IX Advisor to Fight on Your Behalf
With so much to worry about, it's critical that you work with an expert in college disciplinary proceedings. An advisor with national experience and expertise will be able to use their knowledge and skills to find the best possible defense for the UCSC proceedings. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of students across the nation defend their rights to a fair proceeding in sexual misconduct proceedings over the course of many years. They bring passion and dedication to each case they take on, fighting until they've achieved the best possible outcome for their clients and their families. If you're curious about how they can assist you with the allegations you or a loved one is facing, contact them today or call 888.535.3686 for a consultation.