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Thursday, May 23, 2024

UC Regent Norman Pattiz resigns amid sexual assault allegations


Pattiz steps down after year of pressure from student organizations

Radio mogul and UC Regent Norman Pattiz submitted a letter of resignation effective Feb. 16 one year after sexual assault allegations against him initially surfaced.

Last October, podcast host Heather McDonald accused Pattiz of sexual misconduct on a podcast segment and released an audio recording of Pattiz asking to hold her breasts. Pattiz confirmed that it is his voice on the recording according to an article from HuffPost. McDonald also said that Pattiz joked about following her into the restroom, among other incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct.

The second allegation against Pattiz came from Ji Min Park later in 2016. Among other comments, Park mentioned that Pattiz referred to her as the “hottest Asian” in a Huffington Post article.

Although the UC Board of Regents was pressured to act in response to the allegations, the Board does not have the capacity to remove a Regent, only to accept their resignation.

“He wasn’t conducting UC business at the time,” the UC Regents stated in an official statement.

Despite not officially representing the UC at the time of the allegations, Pattiz has faced pressure to step down from the UC Student Association Office of the External Affairs Vice President at UC Berkeley, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and others. The ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President released a copy of its call for Pattiz’s resignation on its Facebook page.

“This has been a matter of deep concern at many levels of the University of California especially in light of systemwide work we have done to address sexual harassment and assault,” Newsom said in an official statement. “These students — some of whom are survivors of sexual assault and harassment themselves — deserve to be heard, not silenced or told to be ‘ashamed.’”

Pattiz’s letter of resignation did not mention any of the sexual assault allegations.

“One of the main reasons I accepted an additional term on the Board was to provide enough time to find a successor at the laboratories and allow for a reasonable transition,” Pattiz said. “The period of transition at the laboratories will end in February.”

In response, George Kieffer, the current chair of the UC Board of Regents, also did not specifically mention the allegations.

“After so many years, you deserve a break,” Kieffer said in response to Pattiz’s letter.

Pattiz formerly served on the Academic and Student Affairs, Governance and Compensation and Public Engagement and Development committees on the Board of Regents.

Following his letter of resignation, the University of California Student Association released an official statement. Although the eventual resignation is noted as a “victory” in the press release, UCSA brought attention to what it refers to as a systemic failure to address the issue of sexual assault cases by the UC.

“The Board of Regents have continually failed to act for the full year between when the allegations first broke and when Regent Pattiz announced his resignation,” the release said. “The Board of Regents as a collective body ignored the comprehensive list of demands from the UC Student Association that would have showed an active commitment to UC’s expressed will to end sexual violence.”


Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org



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