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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, September 20, 2021

Former campus police officer sues University for alleged discrimination

Nearly 10 years ago, Calvin Chang, the first openly gay and Asian American officer on his force, allegedly faced racist and homophobic slurs during his time with the UC Davis Police Department. He filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2009. The case is still active.

“Chang’s lawsuit seeks a reinstatement to his position as a UC Davis Police Officer, and damages for the loss of his career and retirement benefits,” stated a press release from the Luti Law Firm.

According to Chang, there will be a civil jury trial in Sacramento County that is expected to last about a month. They plan to summon UC Davis police as witnesses, including former police chief Annette Spicuzza.

“They do not have to produce her since she is no longer employed, but we plan to look for her,” Chang said.

In 2002, when Chang was first employed with the UC Davis police force, he was excited to be working for his alma mater after working on the City of Davis police force.

Chang said he is most frustrated with the University’s inability to take action.

“This is a continuous pattern. They have policies, but do not follow them,” Chang said.

Over 300 documents were filed with the court and there were six denied attempts by the University to have the case dismissed. Ultimately, there has been a jury trial date set for Nov. 5.

“I’ve been asking for reinstatement. I have not been hired since 2008. My only option is to [be reinstated] as a police officer for UC Davis. I want individuals to be held accountable,” Chang said.

According to Claudia Morain, news service manager at University Communications, Chang resigned from his position in 2009.

“This month the court threw out those claims, with prejudice. ‘With prejudice’ means that these complaints cannot be brought back to the courts,” Morain said. “With this latest victory for the university, 90 percent of Mr. Chang’s complaints have now been dismissed. Only two minor complaints related to the handling of his personnel file remain. He will now have to persuade a jury that he was wronged.”

Chang said that shortly after the lawsuit was filed in February of 2009, an officer and sergeant posted degrading comments on the internet. The internet access was traced to a UC Davis computer. Spicuzza was confronted, but no action was taken, Chang said.

For the Nov. 5 court date, the witness list states, “1. Annette Spicuzza (Defendant previously agreed that they would produce this person for trial).; 2. Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.; 3. Chancellor Linda Katehi.”

This list also includes current Police Chief Matthew Carmichael and former UC Davis Police Lieutenant John Pike.

Chang is being represented by Hollywood Civil Rights Attorneys Anthony Luti and Dennis P. Wilson.

DANIELLE HUDDLESTUN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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