Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS REFORMING TITLE IX
Fresno State’s Award-Winning Newspaper
She said she was raped What followed was a process nobody asks for
Editor’s Note: The following story consisted of two months of reporting by Collegian staff. Names of rape victims are typically not revealed in news stories. However, the subject of this story granted permission to the publication to name her. Our decision to follow through with this story was to shed light on the process of reporting and resolving sexual misconduct allegations on campus.
By Jessica Johnson @iamjesslj
he would see him everywhere. The man she accuses of sexual assault studied in the same courses as her. His major was her major. Between classes, she said, his eyes were fixed on her as she walked by. Though Chelsee Jacinto reported the alleged assault and subsequent frequent run-ins with her alleged attacker to the university’s interim Title IX coordinator, Erin Boele, she said nothing significant has ever been done. She alleges that he raped her as they worked on a writing assignment at his home. Jacinto spoke to The Collegian about her experience. Although names of rape victims are typically not shared, she gave this publication permission to use her name. The Collegian asked Jacinto for the alleged attacker’s name and contact information. She said she was not comfortable giving the information. Jacinto said she reported the alleged rape to law enforcement but believed that wouldn’t help her. Jacinto said the traumatic situation led her to understand the tough situation victims of rape are often thrust into, including not wanting to report the case if there is a chance they won’t be taken seriously. Jacinto’s story is like many others who have come out with allegations of sexual harassment and assault recently in and out of Hollywood, Washington D.C., and Sacramento. “I understand now why people don’t report,” Jacinto said. But the alleged attacker admitted to Jacinto via text message that, indeed, unwanted intercourse had taken place, Jacinto said. That message was shared with Boele, said Jacinto, who believed the message was enough for her request that he undergo interim suspension. It was not. “They choose to believe him even though he admitted I said ‘No’ to kissing, groping, touching and being carried,” Jacinto said. Jacinto said the man also admitted he heard Jacinto say “No.” Despite that, he then said, according to Jacinto, that she had changed her mind on engaging in intercourse. “I consistently repeated the same story over and over while he continually changed details of what happened,” Jacinto said. “And they chose to believe him.” Soon after the alleged assault, and after
Jacinto decided she could report it to officials at Fresno State, she found out how long and arduous the process would be. And, even tougher to come to terms with, Jacinto said, she realized that there was a chance her accusations would not be believed.
Rapes were reported on campus grounds between 2014-16
Her experience had led JaHer experience had led Jacinto to raise questions about the process at Fresno State. Is it enough to adequately address the needs of sexual assault or rape victims? As it stands this semester, Boele is Fresno State’s only interim Title IX coordinator. Boele has several responsibilities, including overseeing compliance with laws related to sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence and stalking, according to the University’s 2017 Annual Security Report. Despite the seemingly small number of staff trained to serve rape or sexual assault victims, Deborah Adishian-Astone, vice president for administrative services, assured The Collegian Source: Fresno in a statement that the university State’s 2017 Annual is committed to meeting federal Title IX obligations to protect the Security Report victim students it serves.
Rapes were reported off campus between 2014-16
Graphic by Kong Thao • The Collegian
Boele echoed those assurances. “My main job is to be neutral, to listen and make both parties feel comfortable and give resources to both sides,” she said. Following the alleged incident, the alleged attacker took Jacinto back to Fresno State, she said. Soon after that incident, Jacinto said she met with Lisa Risch, Fresno State’s only victim advocate. Risch’s role is to provide services to those who experience sexual violence, dating and domestic violence, stalking and sexual harassment. “I simply present options and support whatever decision they make,” Risch said. As the sole communicator between sexual assault victims and other resources, Risch said, she’d like to see more confidential support services for victims of sexual trauma. According to the annual security report compiled by the campus police department, two rapes were reported on campus grounds between 2014 and 2016. Three noncampus rapes were reported. Adishian-Astone said that,
in addition to outreach, the campus’ Title IX coordinator investigated the reports of rape and closed the case on some of them. “Only a limited number [of reports] have been appealed or had other procedural issues that delayed the timely resolution of complaints,” she said. Jacinto said approaching the university’s Title IX coordinator felt intimidating. She said she felt intimidated not just by Boele but, by the process, too. That process included filing a criminal report – that took more than a year. Boele said she does not mind arranging services that bring more comfort to students if interacting with her proves to be intimidating. “It’s definitely not what I ever try to put across,” she said. “I try to be very honest in the process and very honest with where we’re at.”
Jacinto said the report she filed with Boele took several times to complete in order to make sure the incident was adequately and accurately reported. “I asked Erin Boele to change the report three times because my statement written in her report was neither reflective of my experience nor accurate of my verbal and written statement that I gave her,” Jacinto said. When documenting allegations of rapes, Boele said, she will interview a complainant
See SEXUAL ASSAULT, Page 3
GOT OPINIONS? We want to hear them. COLLEGIAN-OPINION@CSUFRESNO.EDU WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
What happened to Fresno? The solution to poverty starts locally I was born in Fresno, went to California State University, Fresno and moved to New York. And 25 years later, I am writing a book about poverty in America. And stunningly, Fresno is a “poster child” example for poverty in the U.S. So what happened? Fresno has consistent weather and affordable labor, access to major highways and rails, tons of land and agricultural success and has a great university. So how this happened is beyond my comprehension. Was it California’s high taxes? Was it
the drought? Was it simply time passing it by? Was it lack of leadership or failure to act? What caused this decay? Are the leaders for tomorrow attending Fresno State today? Are they thinking and creating solutions? Are they concerned about what Fresno has become? Or are they too busy being self-absorbed to notice or care? There are too many questions and not enough answers. But let’s start with this – someone needs to draw the line in the sand and resolve to fix poverty. It isn’t access to
“Being raised by immigrant parents in the Central Valley drove my aspiration to aid Valley residents by becoming an attorney.” Diego Andrade
Deputy District Attorney Tulare County Criminal Justice Major Fresno State
wealth, unless the San Joaquin Valley has changed tremendously since I moved. It takes leadership, then putting a plan together and following it. Poverty typically has three main drivers – lack of full-time employment in the household, lack of a high school diploma and single-parent child-rearing. Any plan crafted needs to address these pillars or, said differently, shatter them. It takes people who care to lead relentlessly and a comprehensive plan to work out of this insanity.
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017
Limited resources for sexual assualt victims SEXUAL ASSAULT from Page 1 and the alleged assailant. Both individuals then review the report and add comments. When the report was made to Boele, Jacinto said, she thought it was going to be from a neutral point of view. “I asked her [Boele] to change it like three times,” Jacinto said. But, Jacinto told The Collegian, her detailed accounts of the alleged rape were not included in the official reports. Instead, “Each report that came out discredited me more and more,” Jacinto said. Jacinto said she told Boele that she pushed back and said “No” to alleged attacker. Boele suggested that maybe the student thought Jacinto was only kidding, Jacinto said. Boele said sometimes a decision after a rape allegation is in the accuser’s favor, but other times it may not be. Then there could also be a split decision. “I have to listen to both sides. Then I have to analyze what both sides are and come to a conclusion,” Boele said of the
“I felt silenced even when I spoke and reported to Title IX.” — Chelsee Jacinto Fresno State student process. Anyone at Fresno State who makes a sexual harassment sexual violence complaint – including rape – has several options. Jacinto said she chose to open an investigation. Regardless of the investigation’s results, Boele said, the complainant can pursue other legal action. When someone files a complaint alleging rape or sexual assault, AdishianAstone said, it is always treated with confidentiality. She said she could not
comment on Jacinto’s case. Risch said she wants victims to know she believes them if they come to her with allegations of sexual abuse – whether on campus or off campus. “I believe them first and foremost, I’m here to support them and provide as many options and resources as needed,” Risch said. Boele said the most important factor when opening up a rape case is to listen to both sides. “Sometimes that’s really hard for individuals to understand,” Boele said.
It is fair to suggest it is hard, if not impossible, for a student to return to the life he or she once knew before filing a sexual assault allegation. “I felt silenced even when I spoke and reported to Title IX,” Jacinto said. Jacinto added that she felt that the university administration allowed the alleged rapist to attend campus with no “interim remedies” that protected her right to an “education in a hostile-free environment.” Jacinto said she has six incomplete courses stamped on her academic record. She said her financial aid also took a hit due to the unfinished courses. With all of that, she wonders if she ever got adequate attention and if those who have come before her have gotten better, or worse, protection following an alleged rape incident. Jacinto said she thinks of those who came before her: Did they fare better or worse in Fresno State’s system of justice?
Betsy DeVos is changing how Online we handle sexual misconduct By Collegian Staff @TheCollegian
United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is challenging college students across the country to debate how the law and universities should handle allegations of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape. The Secretary’s call to action is the latest chapter in a complex and long-running controversy revolving around the scope of legal rights for accuser and accused. Systems of justice vary across the nation’s college campuses. But the fight can be divided into sides. One side says the victims of sexual misconduct who seek justice from university administrations are often victimized again by a process that is indifferent if not hostile to their suffering. The other side says university administrations, desperate to comply with federal requirements, too often violate the constitutional protections accorded anyone accused of a misdeed or crime. America is a big nation. And there are hundreds of college campuses serving millions of students. And perhaps due to that, sexual misconduct has become a serious issue in higher education. Students punished by universities for sexual misconduct have successfully sued in court, saying the schools violated their rights to a fair hearing. In a recent speech at George Mason University, DeVos said her department wants to help schools do a better job of dispensing justice when someone on campus formally alleges he or she has been victimized. “Our interest is in exploring all alternatives that would help schools meet their Title IX obligations and protect all students,” De Vos said. “We welcome input and look forward to hearing more ideas.” California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, in a written statement issued to the general public said the CSU system will keep a sharp eye on the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, (OCR). “As we wait for OCR’s process to unfold, I assure you CSU’s existing policies will continue to protect our students and employees, and provide fairness to all,” White said. “Our comprehensive policies comply
with federal and state laws and regulations – and remain in full force and effect.” White said compassion and fairness to all parties is the foundation of CSU sexual misconduct policies. “At the same time, the CSU continually reviews its policies to ensure that processes are informed by lessons learned through experience and the wisdom of experts and community stakeholders,” White said. The administration of Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro has shown signs that it is ready to hear from students. “In Chancellor White’s remarks regarding Secretary DeVos’ encouragement for debate, he stated that the CSU will be strong participants in that process to ensure our values are represented at the table,” said Deborah Adishian-Astone, vice president for administrative services, in a written statement to The Collegian. “The chancellor’s office has a strong team of dedicated staff that serves all 23 campuses, and they will be taking the lead in these discussions.” “We encourage any student who may have feedback to contact the Title IX coordinator. Our Title IX coordinator will convey any concerns from our campus community to the Chancellor’s Office team to ensure our voices are heard.” Two pillars of America’s legal system play a pivotal role in the debate of sexual misconduct. The first is Title IX, a 1972 federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program receiving federal help. The second is “due process,” the principle that formal legal proceedings must be conducted with established rules so that a person is not subjected to arbitrary treatment. The Fifth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution contain due-process clauses. The starting point for the controversy was the April 4, 2011, letter from Russlynn Ali, then-assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, to educators throughout the nation. The 19-page policy document has become known as the “Dear Colleague” letter, referring to Ali’s salutation. Ali explained how the federal government planned to interpret Title IX as far as protecting students from sexual harassment/sexual violence.
The schools were told they could lose federal funding if they The Collegian didn’t follow the new Title IX guideconducted a lines. This was a Q&A with vice serious warning. After all, federal president of money is vital to administrative most schools. Ali wrote that services, Title IX is a Civil Rights law that, Deborah among other Adishianthings, protects students from sexAstone, on ual harassment. A Fresno State student sexually harassing another Title IX student “creates and sexual a hostile environment if the conmisconduct duct is sufficiently policies. serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to particiVisit pate in or benefit collegian. from the school’s programs.” csufresno. So, schools edu must “take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects,” Ali wrote. The university must have a Title IX-complaint process in place for taking such action. Here is the source of much of the national controversy. The process created by a university to address a sexual harassment/sexual assault complaint “must meet the Title IX requirement of affording a complainant a prompt and equitable resolution,” Ali wrote. But just what is the definition of an “equitable” resolution when one person accuses another person of sexual harassment/ assault? The nation’s court system has certain standards of evidence to help answer that question. But Ali wasn’t writing about finding an answer within the court system. She wrote about finding an answer within a university’s internal system of justice. “In order for a school’s grievance procedures to be consistent with Title IX standards, the school must use a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred). The ‘clear and ‘convincing’ standard (i.e. it is highly probable or reasonably certain that the sexual
harassment or violence occurred), currently used by some schools, is a higher standard of proof. Grievance procedures that use this higher standard are inconsistent with the standard of proof established for violations of the civil rights laws, and are thus not equitable under Title IX. Therefore, preponderance of the evidence is the appropriate standard for investigating allegations of sexual harassment or violence,” she wrote. The parenthetical comments are part of Ali’s letter. Ali told universities receiving federal funds that the standard of proof that an alleged violation/crime occurred would be a lower bar to clear. DeVos in September told an audience at George Mason University of her intent to reform the Title IX guidelines contained in Ali’s “Dear Colleague” letter. “Let me be clear at the outset: acts of sexual misconduct are reprehensible, disgusting and unacceptable,” DeVos said. “They are acts of cowardice and personal weakness, often thinly disguised as strength and power…. Every person on every campus across our nation should conduct themselves with self-respect and respect for others.” DeVos introduced the “due process” issue. In her speech, she said one rape is one too many, one assault is one too many, one aggressive act of harassment is one too many and one person denied due process is one too many. She added that the discussion of how to handle sexual misconduct must include all sides. “There is no way to avoid the devastating reality of campus misconduct: lives have been lost,” DeVos said. “Lives of victims. And lives of the accused.” DeVos said she has discussed this issue with educators and students across America. She said the system established by the previous administration “failed too many students.” DeVos added that her department will reform the 6-year-old Title IX guidelines. “In order to ensure that America’s schools employ clear, equitable, just and fair procedures that inspire trust and confidence,” she said. “We will launch a transparent notice-and-comment process to incorporate the insights of all parties in developing a better way.” In the wake of DeVos’ speech, the Department of Education issued its own “Dear Colleague” letter. It served as a formal withdrawal of Ali’s letter as the prevailing statement of policy. DeVos has also issued a seven-page Q&A advisory titled “Schools’ Responsibility to Address Sexual Misconduct.”
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017
Bulldogs cruise to big win By Nugesse Ghebrendrias @nugebear13
he Fresno State men’s basketball team defeated California State University, Northridge 89-73 at the Save Mart Center on Monday. The Bulldogs improved to 2-0 behind dominant shooting performances from guards Deshon Taylor and Jahmel Taylor. “Tonight was a great game for us in terms of the matchup with Northridge,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. “We knew they were going to try to match us, and we knew we still needed to improve and get better.” The ‘Dogs shot a game-high 58 percent from 3-point range and 62 percent from the field. Led by Jahmel Taylor, who hit a career-high six 3s, the home team jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half and was able to fend off any chance of a comeback. Jahmel Taylor credited his teammates for getting him open, but also credited a timely phone call from his brother for his efficient shooting. “The team found me in the right spots, and I was ready to shoot each time,” Jahmel Taylor said. “My brother challenged me when I was on the phone with him to at least make four [3s] tonight. He said I had to make a minimum of four, so I kind of did that for him.” His running mate, Deshon Taylor, chipped in 18 points of his own behind 50 percent shooting from 3-point range and the field. Forward Bryson Williams added 15 points to help the ‘Dogs outscore the Matadors 4824 in the paint. Guard Jaron Hopkins added the exclamation point with an other-worldly dunk on an unsuspecting Matador defender. Although he missed the free throw, the dunk sent a wave of energy throughout the Save Mart Center. “It felt good. It’s always a good feeling for me when I can play above ground a little bit,” Hopkins said of his in-game dunks. “It is a fast break play and I got an opportunity
Daniel Avalos • The Collegian
Fresno State guard Deshon Taylor drives to the basket against California State University, Northridge on Nov. 13, 2017 at the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs won 89-73.
to dunk it, so I am going to dunk it when I get the chance to.” Defensively, the ‘Dogs showcased their athletic ability throughout the contest. The team totaled seven blocks along with seven steals. Along with Hopkins’ 17 points and 10 rebounds, he contributed to the ‘Dogs steal totals with two, and guard Ray Bowles Jr. chipped in two of his own. The defensive play by the guards helped hold the Matadors to only 46.3 percent shooting, Terry said. “The one-on-one guard was big for us,”
Terry said. “We knew that we were going to do a good job guarding their actions and make their guy take the shot on our terms and not on their terms.” The Bulldogs interior defense played its part as well. Forward Nate Grimes led the game with five blocks. Grimes’ ability to size up his opponents proved critical after he took away 10 potential points from the Matadors. The defensive effort the ‘Dogs showed on Monday is key for their title aspirations, Terry said.
“I think that is a good thing to show our guys that you can be really good on offense, but you need defense as well if you want to win some championships,” Terry said. “Our guys are working hard, and we are continuing to get better and better as it goes along in terms of getting consecutive stops and being more consistent defensively.” The ‘Dogs improved to 31-4 overall at home since the start of the 2015-16 season. Fresno State faces its toughest challenge yet when the ‘Dogs travel to Arkansas Friday for a matchup with the Razorbacks.
Local standout back home By Nugesse Ghebrendrias @nugebear13
Alejandro Soto • The Collegian
Fresno State wrestler Richie Brandt practicing on Oct. 30, 2017 at the Student Recreation Center.
Former local standout wrestler Richie Brandt returned to the mat this season, this time as a Fresno State Bulldog. Brandt graduated from Liberty High School in Madera Ranchos in 2015. He was one of the top wrestlers in his weight class in 2014 when he was a CIF state finalist as a junior. After he graduated, Brandt attended Utah Valley University, where he redshirted his first year. Brandt competed independent to his school, however, and posted a 4-4 record at 197 pounds. He transferred to Fresno State after the program was reinstated. “It’s awesome, I’ve been waiting since my sophomore year in high school when
they said they’d come back,” Brandt said before a practice. “I was just super excited when I was at Utah Valley University when I heard they [Fresno State] got the program back.” Brandt won one of his two matches wrestling at 197 pounds on Nov. 10 in the first two Fresno State duals since 2006. “He, of all the wrestlers I’ve ever had, and I’ve coached for years, is one that is self-motivated, very tenacious and has been able to always set a goal and get to that place,” said Brandt’s former high school coach, Jason Napier. “His work ethic is above most of any other kid I’ve worked with.” Fresno State head coach Troy Steiner only had positive words about Brandt. “He’s a great kid,” Steiner said. “He’s always here and willing to work, he’s kind of like a silent warrior.” Along with his teammates, Brandt looks to lead the storied program back to the forefront of Central Valley sports. The ‘Dogs open at home against Illinois on Friday at 7 p.m.