The University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) has been found in contempt of court after it violated a court order to re-evaluate its findings and punishment against a male student accused of stalking a female student.
On August 10, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna D. Geck, an Arnold Schwarzenegger appointee, found that UCSB hadn’t followed her earlier mandate to re-evaluate accusations against a male student based on evidence presented in court and in a campus hearing, instead of just what was included in a campus administrator’s report. In finding that the school violated its mandate — by copying word-for-word its original findings against the male student but adding a single sentence at the top claiming it reached the identical conclusion based on the additional evidence — Geck ordered the school to vacate UCSB’s decision against the student and reinstate him.
John Doe, as he is referred to in court documents, briefly dated his eventual accuser, referred to as Jane Roe, for about a month in the fall of 2015, according to a lawsuit provided to The Daily Wire. The two broke up in mid-October because, according to John’s lawsuit, Jane remained in contact with her previous boyfriend and was not over him. After John and Jane broke up, Jane began dating her ex-boyfriend again.
On October 31, John said he texted Jane: “This goes against everything I said I wouldn’t do, but I actually really miss you.” The next day he sent another text: “Although I mean what I said, I shouldn’t have sent that. I’m sorry.” Two days later he sent one last text: “I know you don’t like change, but [you’re] SO SO Much better than him,” referring to her ex- and current boyfriend. Jane texted him back to say they shouldn’t speak, and John, according to his lawsuit, didn’t text her again.
John said he dropped a class during the winter quarter because Jane and her boyfriend were taking it, and had no further contact with Jane for the next seven months, though they did see each other on campus occasionally.
On May 13, 2016, Jane texted John asking if he was responsible for some threatening phone calls and texts she had received from unknown numbers in late April. John said he wasn’t responsible and didn’t know who was.
On May 20, John said he was invited to a fraternity party where Jane’s boyfriend was a member. He confronted John about the anonymous phone calls, but John again denied any knowledge.
On May 26, John was invited by a sorority member to a “Date Party” at the sorority where Jane was a member. John said in his lawsuit he saw Jane in another area but didn’t interact with her or her boyfriend.
The next day, John received a notification from UCSB’s associate dean of students that he was not to contact Jane. Two weeks later — on June 10, 2016 — John was notified by the dean and the school’s Title IX investigator Brian Quillen that he had been accused of “sexual violence” by Jane, who claimed he had “stalked her through repeated physical and verbal conduct.”
Jane made multiple claims. She said John followed her daily to and from her classes for nearly an academic year between the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016, but stayed 100 feet behind her. She claimed that on April 28, 2016, John followed her to a campus building and watched and laughed at her when she exited. She claimed John was behind the anonymous phone calls and texts because her boyfriend claimed that John used to be part of a group of fraternity pledges that made threatening prank phone calls. She also claimed that on May 20, John went to her boyfriend’s fraternity house and argued with him. Finally, she claimed that John got himself into her sorority party and stayed close to her and her boyfriend all night.
John denied all the accusations and explained what happened between him and Jane’s boyfriend on May 20.
Prior to filing a claim against John on campus, Jane had told police about the anonymous phone calls. She claimed she unblocked the numbers and was sent a text from one saying: “[Jane Roe]? Need to talk asap.” She also claimed John had previously “used his phone to create fake text messages between [Jane] and her current boyfriend,” according to a police report included in John’s court documents. On May 13, Jane met with officers and now said John had “been following her on an almost daily basis since September 2015.” She also mentioned him standing outside a building and laughing at her.
Police told Jane to text John about the threatening messages, and tell him she would go to the police unless he said they were a joke. John responded: “Listen [Jane], I’ve never called you, and neither have my friends. Not once! I’ve had no reason to call you, think of you, or even talk about you.”
Jane began texting with one of the unidentified numbers, but couldn’t determine who it was. On May 19, Jane took a picture of a skateboarder outside her apartment and claimed it was John. She later told police that John intentionally spilled a drink on her at the sorority party he attended with another woman.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department found no evidence that John was responsible for anything Jane claimed, but UCSB’s Title IX investigator, Quillen, interviewed ten witnesses and conducted a five-month investigation anyway. John has maintained that UCSB failed to provide him with the evidence against him, including a copy of a timeline prepared by Jane documenting his alleged stalking. John said in his lawsuit that he presented evidence “that he was elsewhere in his own class at certain times and his smartphone location information contradicted Jane Roe’s claim at other times.” Despite this, and the fact there was no corroborating evidence for Jane’s claims, Quillen determined, by the preponderance of evidence, that it was more likely than not that John stalked Jane.
He was expelled.
John appealed, arguing the investigation wasn’t fair, the decision was unreasonable based on the evidence, that there was new evidence, and that the punishment was disproportionate to the findings. His appeal was denied.
So John sued.
In January 2018, Judge Geck ordered UCSB to reconsider its decision, because it did not appear — as stated in its determination against John — to base that decision on anything other than Quillen’s report. When UCSB finally did “reconsider” its decision, it “issued a revised and reconsidered decision rejecting [John’s] appeal and re-imposing the sanction of dismissal.” But Judge Geck was not fooled.
She noticed that the “revised and reconsidered” decision was nothing more than the old decision, but now it included a sentence at the beginning that claimed the hearing panel “evaluated whether the decision was unreasonable based on the evidence, and considered the following when making their decision.” The panel said that, in addition to Quillen’s report, it also relied on John and Jane’s opening and closing statements, John’s evidence, witness statements, and other evidence. However, elsewhere in the copy-and-pasted decision, there was still a line claiming it was reached by “using only the evidence in the Title IX investigative report.” Because the decision was identical to the original, and the basis was contradictory, Geck held UCSB in contempt and ordered it to reinstate John.
In a press release about the judge’s decision sent from John’s attorney, Mark Hathaway, it was noted that UCSB Title IX investigator Quillen also investigated a student who sued UCSB and UCSB was ordered to pay $31,097.85 in attorney’s fees.