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Thursday, May 23, 2024

UCSA escalates demands for dismissal of Regent Pattiz


UC Student Association passes second resolution for Pattiz’s removal

During its board meetings on Oct. 14 and 15, the UC Student Association (UCSA) passed its second resolution calling for the removal of UC Regent Norman Pattiz from his position on the Board of Regents.

The resolution demands Pattiz’ resignation based on his alleged workplace sexual harassment charges and use of a gun to threaten an employee. Quoting multiple sources, the resolution provided evidence of the accusations in addition to citing multiple university policies that define sexual harassment.

“In November 2016, it was revealed that UC Regent Norman Pattiz came forward with repeated acts of sexual harassment,” the UCSA letter states. “The University of California defines sexual harassment as ‘unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.’”

The available evidence to corroborate the allegations against Pattiz includes on-the-record statements from employees Raymond Hernandez and Heather McDonald, both of whom attest to the fact that Pattiz brandished a loaded firearm in work environments and at an employee, in addition to repeated displays of verbal conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace. Additionally, there is a recording available of Pattiz asking a female coworker, “Wait a minute — can I hold your breasts? Would that help?” during a broadcasting at PodcastOne studio.

News coverage of abuse by Pattiz first began in November 2016. UCSA President Judith Gutierrez described the efforts that the organization has taken to resolve this issue since.

UCSA first called for his resignation in January of 2017 and escalated our demand to not just rely on him to resign, but to also call on other regents, President Napolitano and Governor Brown to do anything they can to censure or dismiss him,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez elaborated on the reasoning behind the more powerful nature of the most recent resolution.

“Our latest resolution, passed in October 2017, calls for the UC to immediately ban Regent Pattiz from campus when he is not at regent meetings, because we feel he is an immediate threat to our community,” Gutierrez said. “We also call on the Board of Regents to remove him as chair of any committees, and when possible, deny his right to vote on regental decisions.”

The external vice president of the Office of Advocacy and Student Representation Daniel Nagey, a third-year economics and psychology double major, acts as the liaison for the UC Davis undergraduate population to UCSA.

“We’ve personally asked different regents and Janet Napolitano to ask for [Pattiz’s] resignation and they’ve all said no due to dirty politics and whatnot, but it […] just really has been disgusting […] to see somebody in that position still having that position of power,” Nagey said.

According to the UCSA, it is unaware of any direct legal actions from law enforcement or UC officials, including UC President Janet Napolitano, regarding Pattiz and these allegations.

The Board of Regents and President Napolitano continue to sidestep any requests we have made to urge for Pattiz’s discipline,” Gutierrez said. “They have done what we consider the bare minimum; UC regents are now required to get the same basic training about sexual conduct as everyone else at the UC. No regent has been bold enough to join our call.”

Nagey detailed the standpoint taken by the UC regents and officials.

“All the administrators have taken a very neutral stance saying that they don’t want to be the ones to call them out but they would potentially support something if somebody else came out with it,” Nagey said. “It means that they’re not really down for the cause.”

Since being named president of the UC in 2013, Napolitano has created initiatives such as the CARE advocate program and requiring engagement in mandatory consent training. Gutierrez claims that though Napolitano “has responded to public criticism that UC is mishandling sexual violence allegations” the silence on “Regent Pattiz undoes that work.”

“Survivors of sexual violence, who may be facing PTSD and other mental health concerns, have to go through the trauma again and again knowing that a man voting on every critical decision affecting them at our University is an assailant,” Gutierrez said. “We cannot trust Regent Pattiz to make good decisions.”

Nagey echoed Gutierrez’s sentiment.

It’s really uncomfortable for students who are survivors that somebody in such a high position of power has done such incredible acts […] and it’s kind of demoralizing to see that nothing has really happened to him,” Nagey said.

Nagey continued on to describe his personal frustration with the issue and his encouragement that UC Davis students advocate for change.

“It’s just frustrating […] because they keep trying to blow it off like nothing ever happened and we want students to vocalize that they don’t want this person in power,” Nagey said.

Gutierrez also stated that this issue can be seen as cause for reform and improvement to the Board of Regents.

“Regents should not have 12-year terms and there should be a method for removing them in cases like this of egregious behavior,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez concluded with a statement regarding the presence of sexual violence on college campuses.

“Sexual violence on college campuses is a silent stigmatized epidemic, and no university is exempt, including the UC,” Gutierrez said. “As long as Regent Norm Pattiz is in office, the UC and President Napolitano specifically cannot stand by its commitment to end sexual violence.”

Gutierrez described the correlation between the actions of Regent Pattiz and trends within society.

“Pattiz’s actions reflect a toxic culture in our society, where men can say what they want and use violence as a threat to get what they want,” Gutierrez said. “Trauma from sexual violence and gun incidents are far too common. The UC cannot ignore such a perpetrator among its ranks. He must be removed from a position of power within the UC system, both as discipline for his actions and as a message to current and future members of the UC community that abuse will not be tolerated at the institution where we work, learn and live.”

Neither UCOP nor the UC Regents Office immediately responded to a request for comment.


Written by: Priyanka Shreedar — campus@theaggie.org


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