Claims of bias against low-income students, ethnic, racial minorities
The Yolo County Central Committee has called for an investigation into the UC Davis Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs, following a resolution that passed unanimously on June 18.
A press release sent from the committee made numerous allegations against the OSSJA, including bias against low-income students and ethnic and religious minorities. After communication with UC Davis students, the committee outlined concerns over the presence of “conduct and integrity” within SJA.
Among other roles and responsibilities, the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs is tasked with responding to all cases of student misconduct,
“I am disappointed by the resolution made by a group that does not have access to full information,” said Donald Dudley, the director of the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs. “We strive to be fair and thorough in our decisions, with full due process consistent with campus and systemwide university policies.”
One of the numerous allegations outlined in the release is a claim of cultural bias. The committee references former UC Davis student Aaron Serrao who, the release states, “was told
that as an immigrant he did not understand the American ethics system, and was expelled after a hearing that took mere minutes, without representation or proper procedure.”
Serrao told The Aggie he preferred not to discuss the specifics of the case.
“All I’m going to say is I know white people that have been caught multiple times for selling drugs on campus and others that have been to the judicial affairs for cases regarding sexual harassment and they are still [at UC Davis], so make what you will of that,” he said.
Another case of bias is that of “a refugee nursing student who was dismissed over trivial matters by the Office,” according to the release. It appears the student was readmitted “by a different body.”
Another specific case outlined in the release is that of Sarah Hahn, the former director of counseling and psychological services who said she was threatened and intimidated by the university following her probe into student funds allocated for mental health services. The release states Hahn’s case ended up with OSSJA. She was ultimately terminated from her position.
“The Office stands accused of the targeting of those with political or other positions that
are unfavorable to the administration by means of solicitation of disciplinary referrals through
whatever means necessary to manufacture disciplinary cases and ultimately dismiss them from the university and then attempt to obstruct justice,” the release states.
The committee also accused the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs of interfering with affairs outside of its jurisdiction, including in matters related to the 2018 ASUCD Winter Elections.
Following a request from The Aggie, ASUCD President Michael Gofman, Vice President Shaniah Branson and External Vice President Edgar Masias-Malagon released a joint response to the Yolo County Central Committee’s statement.
“All students have the right to express themselves to the full extent granted under law, and all possible reports having to do with discrimination of any kind must be and will be immediately addressed and resolved,” the joint release stated. “This ASUCD Executive Office reaffirms it’s belief that all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, income, ethnicity, religion, and all other protected statuses deserve fair and equal treatment by the campus judicial administration and the justice system at large.”
The joint statement called upon UC Davis administration “to recommit to transparency and accountability, especially as it concerns disciplinary action towards students.”
Pending an actual independent investigation into the OSSJA, as the committee has requested, the Yolo County Democratic Party calls for OSSJA officials, including the director and the assistant director, to be placed on suspension.
Written by: Hannah Holzer — firstname.lastname@example.org