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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

UC Regents Challenged: Women Demand Student Rep Jesse Cheng Be Removed

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 1:30 PM

At the center of women's ire
  • At the center of women's ire

Last week, the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct ruled that Jesse Cheng, the student rep on the UC Board of Regents, had engaged in "unwanted touching" of his ex-girlfriend, an offense that's classified as sexual battery.

Cheng, who is set to graduate from UC Irvine in June, has seven days to decide if he will appeal the decision, which has resulted in probation for the fifth-year student.

But women across California see this as a mere slap on the wrist for Cheng, who maintains his innocence.

They want him booted off the board -- now.

And to show they are serious, feminist organizations across the state plan to descend on San Francisco tomorrow morning where the UC Regents will be meeting at 8:30 a.m. at the Mission Bay campus. They will speak to the board directly, delivering this one message to Cheng.

"Either resign or be removed," said Katrina Socoo, coordinator of AF3IRM, a local feminist group.

The woman, who is only being identified as "Laya" had already gone to police and filed a complaint after the October 2010 incident. However the Orange County District Attorney's Office declined to file sexual battery charges against Cheng, citing a lack of evidence.

So she turned to the university, which pays Cheng's tuition for serving as the student rep on the UC Board of Regents. The UCI Office of Student Conduct ruled against him on March 10.

Afterward, Cheng told OC Weekly that he was"a little bit

surprised" by the conclusion.

Cheng is still trying to decide whether he will appeal the decision, if only to clear his name. But whether the case drags on or not, women, students, and some UC faculty no longer want Cheng representing their voice on the board.

"The UC Board of Regents had previously said it would base their next steps on the UCI Office of Student Conduct's [decision], and so we want to hold them accountable to that," Socco told SF Weekly today.

A spokesman for Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who sits on the UC Board of Regents, said he is not commenting on the case. Instead, he referred all questions to UC attorneys, who have not yet returned SF Weekly's phone call.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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