Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Daily Cal- The Empty Gesture

Originally posted on May 22, 2011.

Jesse Cheng’s decision to resign prematurely leaves his tumultuous term as UC student Regent unfinished.

UC student Regent Jesse Cheng’s premature resignation leaves his tenure incomplete after a term marred by controversy.

The scandal he faced is enough to make most public officials resign immediately, but his waiting for two months to pass after receiving a student conduct violation for sexual battery by the UC Irvine Student Conduct Office in March makes Cheng’s decision to resign questionable.

Cheng’s resignation is nearly inconsequential at this point. His decision to resign comes too late after his initial controversy to be a sign of the scandal’s effect on his job performance — Cheng was apprehended by the Irvine police for sexual battery in November, though the DA did not charge him with any crime.

Full article here:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jesse Cheng's Statement

Dear Fellow Students,
It is with great regret that I write this letter to announce that I have tendered my resignation as the Student Regent of the University of California. My regret partially stems from my choice to resign before the May Regents meeting, which would have been my last Regent meeting; and also the inability to finish my service to a student body and UC community which has given me so much. But I make this decision today because I believe it is part of my obligation and what I owe to the students who have supported me, to ensure that students have a full and powerful voice at the Board of Regents, and do what is best for the student community.

I respect the decision of the Student Conduct Process, no matter how much I disagree with the findings. It is a much lower standard of evidence than a criminal court, but I also recognize that the process nevertheless applies to me as a student. My main focus and motivation has always been for students to feel that they have a full and powerful voice on the Board of Regents. Seeing how it will be my last meeting as a Student Regent, and how much of a distraction from other serious student issues that this issue has continued to cause, I think it would be best for the students and the University of California if I step down at this time. Along the same lines of pushing for students to have a powerful voice at the table, I have confirmed that Alfredo Mireles, the Student Regent-designate, will be able to utilize my vote on the Board of Regents next week. I feel confident that with Alfredo speaking as the full Student Regent, students will continue to have a full voice and vote at the table. Whether or not I continue as a Student Regent, I think that will always be the most important issue.

I would like to take the liberty to thank all the leaders and activists who have taken their time to work with me and fight for an affordable, accessible, and quality UC. They have been students, staff, faculty, and UC administration, and I owe them all a great debt of gratitude. As students, we faced extremely difficult challenges these last two years, including one of the largest fee increases in the university’s history and one of the largest fiscal crises in the state’s. However, we also launched one of the largest grassroots mobilizations in the country, with well over ten thousand students, staff, faculty, and workers walking out to send a clear message to decision-makers and legislators about the importance of a college education. I am proud to have been there to witness such a powerful moment for higher education. In this past year, through difficult challenges, we’ve been able to win small victories. Student activists worked hard to urge the university to look at diversity models to improve campus climate, and recently gained two student representatives on the UC’s Investment Advisory Group, allowing students to gain a wider perspective and voice. Perhaps most importantly, this year the Board of Regents approved a resolution pushing for all campuses to adopt a holistic admissions model, a model that will produce a more fair and balanced admissions process for future UC students. It is a victory that students have been seeking for years, and it was an honor to see the University take such a strong stance on balanced admissions practices. It has been an honor to support the leadership of students who have advocated across the system these past two years.

I have tried to serve the students and the University of California to the best of my ability for the last two years, and I thank the students for giving me this opportunity and privilege. At the end of the day, I want to recognize it is a privilege to serve, not a right. I am stepping down now because I think it is the right decision, and the best way for the students to have a powerful voice at the table, for the student movement to move forward without distraction, and for the University of California to face the challenges we have before us.

Respectfully Yours in Service and Friendship,
Jesse Cheng

Read the full letter here:

Jesse Cheng Resigns as Student Regent

On February 16, 2011, Jesse Cheng told the OC Weekly that he would not resign from his position because "That would be an admission of guilt." Three days after his appeal was denied, he submitted a letter of resignation to the Board of Regents.

Read all the articles here:







Wednesday, May 11, 2011

OC Weekly: Jesse Cheng, UC Student Regent, Loses Appeal

UPDATE, MAY 10, 5:46 P.M.: University of California Student Regent Jesse Cheng lost his appeal of a UC Irvine misconduct ruling over an October 2010 "unwanted touching" incident involving his ex-girlfriend, according to feminist groups tracking the case against the Asian Studies major.

Cheng was unable to comment when contacted by the Weekly this afternoon. Once that comes, this post will be updated again.

Chairman Russell Gould assured the women the board was taking the matter seriously but that it would have to await the end of the appeal process before taking any action. Now, the groups are accusing the UC and UCI of delaying the appeal denial because Cheng is only scheduled to attend one more Board of Regents meeting before his term ends.

Full article here:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jesse Cheng's Appeal Denied

The UCI Student Conduct Office's ruling puts Cheng on probation for the duration of his tenure as a UC student, and instructs him to take educational and anger management courses.

Full article here:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Change.org Sponsorship

Student Who Admitted to Sexual Assault Still on UC Board of Regents 

The UC Board of Regents is comprised of a slew of high-profile individuals and important figures in the UC system, including California Gov. Jerry Brown, Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez, President of the University Mark Yudof, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Alumni Associations of the University of California President Rex Hime, and La Opinión Newspaper Publisher and CEO Monica Lozano.

This, ahem, illustrious Board claimed that it didn't want to consider removing Cheng until the Office of Student Conduct's decision came back -- then when the "he done it" verdict was returned, used Cheng's decision to appeal and backpedaling on his confession as reason to continue to shirk from the issue.

The Justice for Laya Coalition sees all this as nothing but excuses and has no intention of letting the Board get away with running out the clock to Cheng's upcoming graduation -- letting them off the hook for having to take action. To support their efforts on behalf of Laya and other UC sexual assault survivors, sign the petition launched by AF3IRM here.

Full article here:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

False Rape Society

Quite ironic that a blog dedicated to informing people about false rape accusations can see through Jesse Cheng's lies.

Originally posted on March 19, 2011

It is a bizarre case, but False Rape Society will not support the accused here.

But the Office of Student Conduct has ruled that Cheng engaged in "unwanted touching." Even if he didn't, one must seriously wonder if Cheng is either too stupid, or too unstable, to serve as the student regent in light of the admissions he wrote in emails.

Some who are concerned about injustices to falsely accused men will construe Cheng's current predicament as a form of karma. After all, when you join with the gender-divisive purveyors of lock-the-doors-hide-the-daughters Chicken Little rape hysteria, you risk having the monster you helped create turn on you.  It is ironic that Cheng himself helped manufacture the very culture that led feminists to stage yet another gender passion play this week, this time, when they protested against him.  It is doubly ironic that no matter what happens to Jesse Cheng, he will not acknowledge that the system is broken, and that it allows innocent men to be found responsible of terrible wrongdoing in college kangaroo proceedings that make us long for the good old days of Star Chamber.  Jesse Cheng will not help us to change the system; he is only out to save Jesse Cheng.

Jesse Cheng is the author of his own discontent. False Rape Society calls on the Board of Regents to oust him from the board immediately.

Full article here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

OC Register- Protest at UCI

Citing allegations of sexual assault, protesters Wednesday rallied to demand the resignation of the UC Irvine senior who represents the 220,000 students attending University of California campuses.

Jesse Cheng, sole student member of the 26-person UC Regents board, denies the accusations by his ex-girlfriend, a UCLA graduate student known by the pseudonym "Laya."
Calls for Cheng's ouster stem from an October incident in which Laya says he tried to rape her. The District Attorney declined to file charges, but a UC Irvine inquiry determined Cheng touched Laya without consent, a finding he has appealed.

On Wednesday, more than two dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the school's administration building, in the middle of a UCI street fair.

Full article here: 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Analysis of the appeal by Cheng.

It has been recently revealed that Jesse Cheng has filed an appeal with UCI student conduct. Based on the UCI student conduct policy:

The Appeal will be Granted or Denied based on:

1. Whether there is new evidence which could not be adduced at the time of the investigative conference which is likely to change the result;

2. Whether there was a violation of due process;

3. Whether the sanction imposed was too harsh given the finding of fact.

Our Source tells us that Cheng chose the 3rd option declaring the punishment was too harsh. At this point, we cannot confirm what the exact punishment is, but in a recent article in the OC weekly, Cheng said it was only probation to the end of the school year (2.5 months).

In the UCI Student Conduct Policy. The university has a limited number of options for disciplinary action. They are as follows:

Disciplinary Probation
Loss of Privileges and Exclusion from Activities
Exclusion from Areas of the Campus or from Official University Functions
Interim Suspension
Revocation of Awarding of Degree
Other-( monetary fines, community service, or holds on requests for transcripts, diplomas, or other student records to be sent to third parties,University service- required participation as an unpaid volunteer in activities which serve the University,behavioral contract- specific requirements relating to expectations of behavior, revocation of registration of a campus organization.)

If we take Cheng's word that he is only facing probation, then his only other alternate punishment is a warning if the university agrees with him. This seems to be a waste of time because he still is found responsible for violating the university's sexual harassment policy which will still stay with him for the rest of his life.
This does not seem like an unreasonable thing to do unless he is hoping to drag the appeal process as long as possible until he graduates and then tries to declare the situation as not resolved.

The only other possible scenario is Jesse Cheng lied about the disciplinary actions the university issued in order to downplay the whole affair. Aside from Student Conduct (who cannot comment due to student confidentiality), Jesse Cheng is the only one who truly knows the real punishment. Laya was told the punishment will only be revealed to her if Jesse did not appeal the decision.

Either way, what is interesting, is if Jesse told the truth, shouldn't he be appealing on the grounds of introducing new evidence or a violation of due process? While it is very possible that he does not have new evidence to give, if he told the truth in his statement, he should be arguing that his statements were not taking seriously or weighed equally with Laya's. Afterall, the university's policy states "Violations of the Sexual Assault Policy will be determined on the preponderance of the evidence standard." Such a standard is easy to appeal if it a "he said, she said" case.

Just something to think about.

UCI Student Conduct information:

Article of Jesse Cheng claiming only probation:

Friday, March 18, 2011

UC Regents Agree to Investigate Campus Sexual Assault


Katrina Socco
Coordinator, AF3IRM - SF Bay Area

Women Force UC System To Stop Silencing Victims

San Francisco, CA (March 16, 2011)—AF3IRM and the Mariposa Center for Change, the lead conveners of the statewide Justice for Laya Coalition took action at the UC Regents Board meeting to demand that UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng be removed from his position. On October 3, 2010 Cheng sexually battered Laya, a UC student in his off campus apartment. Speakers representing the Justice for Laya coalition addressed the UC Board of Regents this morning, followed by a vigil where members of the coalition wore gags to represent how victims of campus sexual assault have continued to be silenced and shirts with the phrase, "I am Laya." to signify that all women are victimized by Cheng's actions.

The Justice for Laya coalition demanded the following: 1) Removal of Cheng as UC Student Regent; 2) Support of the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct Decision as a step in restoring Legal Justice for Laya and; 3) Funding and support for UC Women’s Centers. After 17 public comments from a variety of other advocacy groups present, President of the UC Regents Board, Mark Yudof shocked the audience by solely responding to the Justice for Laya Campaign. He stated that the UC Regents “... take this very seriously. I have asked our Chief of Compliance and Audit to monitor the campus review and I'll be referring this issue to the Committee on Governance to take more action.”

The Justice for Laya Coalition formed on 5 UC campuses when Laya turned to the Mariposa Center for help. As UC Berkeley student and personal friend of Laya, Vanita Mistry informed the UC Regents, “Laya had to go outside the university system to find help and support because women’s centers are under-funded. She has had to tell her story over and over to police and school officials without any indication that they believe or support her. “ Though sexual assault remains the second highest reported crime at UC campuses, efforts to prevent this crime have not decreased campus rape statistics in 15 years.

Annalisa Enrile, Board President of the Mariposa Center and professor at USC, offered a possible solution, while addressing the UC Regents: “In this time of deep budget cuts, let me use the language we are familiar with. We cannot afford to lose more of our students, more of our women to violence. We cannot afford 150,000 college women being assaulted every year. We cannot afford to have a sexual batterer represent the needs of one of the most prestigious university systems in the country. We cannot afford Cheng…and that is the most important CUT that you can make today “

A recent ruling by the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct has confirmed Student Regent Cheng responsible for these charges. AF3IRM – SF Bay Area Coordinator, Katrina Socco concluded, “The UC Regents need to follow suit, and hold Cheng accountable for his crime. There is nothing that Jesse would like more, than for us to shut up and go away. We aren’t going anywhere until justice is served.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rally for Laya! UCSF today!

Advocacy group flocked in front of the University of California-Mission Bay this morning…to call for justice for “Laya”, a Filipina graduate student at UCLA who accused her ex-boyfriend, UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng of sexually assaulting her last October.

Katrina Socco of AFFIRM said they decided to rally for the victim to eliminate the stigma of rape. She said, “Victims should not be afraid to get help.

The victim, only known as “Laya” filed a police report weeks after the alleged assault. After questioning Cheng, the Irvine Police released him and the District Attorney’s Office decided not to press charges.
Dr. Analisa Enrile of the Mariposa Center for Change said, “She is understandably upset. She feels revictimized.”

Last month, the UC Office on Student Conduct and Discipline found Cheng responsible for sexual battery. Cheng has since filed an appeal.

These women’s rights groups are now calling on the UC Board of Regents to remove Cheng from the regency. The board is expected to make a decision tomorrow.

Cheng’s term as student regent is expiring in June. He refuses to step down, claiming he’s innocent.

- Balitangamerica


SF Weekly - UC Regents Challenged: Women Demand Student Rep Jesse Cheng Be Removed

Last week, the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct ruled that Jesse Cheng, the student rep on the UC Board of Regents, had engaged in "unwanted touching" of his ex-girlfriend, an offense that's classified as sexual battery.

Cheng, who is set to graduate from UC Irvine in June, has seven days to decide if he will appeal the decision, which has resulted in probation for the fifth-year student.

But women across California see this as a mere slap on the wrist for Cheng, who maintains his innocence.

They want him booted off the board -- now.

Full article here:

LA Times- UC student regent faces sexual battery allegation; board chair says no immediate action

University of California Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould said Wednesday that he would not rush to judgment about whether student regent Jesse Cheng, a fifth-year UC Irvine student, should stay on the board while UC reviews a former girlfriend’s allegation of sexual battery by Cheng.

The Orange County district attorney's office has declined to press charges against Cheng for lack of evidence. But the UC Irvine office of student conduct this month found Cheng responsible for a student code violation for sexual battery, defined as unwanted touching in a sexual manner. Cheng, who maintains his innocence, said he was trying to decide whether to appeal the campus ruling.

As the regents met Wednesday in San Francisco, representatives of feminist groups urged the board to oust Cheng as one of the two student representatives on the panel. Gould said he took the matter “very seriously” and said any appeals would need to be completed and then a regents committee would examine the issue to see if any action should be taken.

Cheng, 22, who is majoring in Asian American studies, did not attend the meeting, saying he did not want his presence to be a distraction. In a telephone interview, he said he has no plans to resign.

LA Times

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feminists To Picket UC Regents Over Sexual Assault Case

In late October, Laya filed a complaint of sexual battery and attempted rape against Cheng with the Irvine, Calif., police department. According to Laya, the complaint alleged that Cheng had invited Laya, his former girlfriend, to dinner at his apartment on October 4, where he allegedly tried to compel her into sexual intercourse despite her repeated verbal refusal and physical resistance.

In a subsequent exchange of emails, Cheng appears to have admitted and apologized for what he did to Laya. (He now says, “I fabricated the content of the e-mails just to get her off my back, because 50 calls a day were really breaking me in half.”) However, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute, asserting that there was insufficient evidence to mount an investigation.

For five months after that, Laya sought acknowledgment of what allegedly had been done to her. She says this was difficult, since Cheng was a popular campus figure, known for his progressive stances on issues. Appointed by the UC Board of Regents as Student Regent, Cheng represents the more than 220,000 students in the system’s ten campuses.

Full article here:

Women Challenge UC Regents Board: Stop Condoning Rape Statewide Actions to be Held in California

Katrina Socco
Coordinator, AF3IRM – SF Bay Area
650-714-9151 (cell) sfbayarea@af3irm.org


[ San Francisco & Los Angeles, California]
On March 16, 2011 the Justice for Laya campaign will hold a statewide day of action against UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng for his role in sexually assaulting a student named Laya. The UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct has recently found Cheng responsible for sexual battery. Womenʼs groups, community leaders, faculty, UC students and alumni will speak at The University of California Regents Board meeting and hold a vigil outside to demand that Cheng be removed from his position as sole student representative for the UC Regents Board. Immediately following the action in San Francisco, a press conference with new findings and calls to action from the Womenʼs and Filipino community will be held in Los Angeles.

WHO: Justice for Laya, Northern California Coalition
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, March 16 at 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: UCSF Mission Bay Campus, 1675 Owens St, San Francisco, CA

WHO: Justice for Laya, Southern California Coalition [CONFIRMED SPEAKERS}
Angela Bartolome - AF3IRM, Los Angeles Coordinator
Jennifer Nazareno - Mariposa Center for Change
Nic John Ramos - UC Irvine Alumni, Former Kababayan President
Christine Araquel - Kabataang maka-Bayan (Pro-People Youth), Vice Chairperson

WHEN: Wednesday, March 16 at 12:00 noon
WHERE: Feminist Majority Press Room, 433 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Additional Information:
There will be opportunities to photograph and interview bilingual Justice for Laya Coalition leaders (Tagalog & English), UC students, and community advocates. Other photo opportunities include dramatic vigil both inside and outside the UC Regents board meeting room with banners, props and campaign posters.

Endorsing Organizations include:
AF3IRM - Formerly known as Gabriela Network, The Mariposa Center for Change, Kabataang Maka-Bayan Pro-People Youth, Delta Phi Gamma at UC Irvine, Social Justice Alliance at UC Riverside, Students for Chinatown at UC Riverside, Beta Phi Sorority at SFSU, UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, and the entire UC Berkeley BRIDGES Coalition: RAZA Recruitment & Retention Center, Native American Recruitment & Retention Center, Pilipino Academic Student Services, REACH! - Asian/Pacific Islander Recruitment & Retention Center, Mixed Student Union, & Arab Recruitment & Retention Center.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Stand with a Survivor and Speak Out Against Campus Sexual Assault!

A UCLA graduate student known as LAYA was sexually battered by UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng, who is now denying the fact and being protected because of his position of power.


- Jesse Cheng resign from his position immediately!
- Make campus sexual assault a priority issue!
- Fund women's centers & resources!

8:00AM @ UCSF
Mission Bay Community Center
1675 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA

*Rides available at UC Berkeley, Eschleman Loading Zone


AF3IRM, Mariposa Center for Change, Feminist Majority, Kabataang maka-Bayan Pro People Youth, Delta Phi Gamma at UC Irvine, Social Justice Alliance at UC Riverside, Students for Chinatown at UC Riverside, Beta Phi Sorority

Friday, March 11, 2011

Occupy UCI- Jesse Cheng's Conduct Charges

Student Regent Jesse Cheng was found guilty by UCI’s Repression Kommissar Edgar Dormitorio of “unwanted touching” and is sentenced to “probation.”  What this means is that by the time the appeal is over, Jesse will have already graduated, without final charges.  It also means that the UC Regents will not be removing him from his position of representing students.  However, it should be said, conduct charges do not equal justice for Laya, and instead make a mockery of her case.  By charging Jesse through the Office of Student Conduct, UCI is trying to both validate their past repression of 30 students while also letting him off with a slap on the wrist.  We want Jesse to be held accountable for his actions–whether or not he did it–BY STUDENTS, not by a politically driven kangaroo court.  Not to mention it’s downright ridiculous that students be suspended, assigned community service, and have their organizations banned for participating in nonviolent protests, while a student is given probation for sexual battery.

Full article here:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct Finds Jesse Cheng Guilty of Sexual Battery, Justice for Laya Coalition Heightens its Call for his Resignation

March 9, 2011
Ivy Quicho, Mariposa Center for Change Executive Director
Jollene Levid, AF3IRM National Chairperson

UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct Finds Jesse Cheng Guilty of Sexual Battery, Justice for Laya Coalition Heightens its Call for his Resignation

March 9: The UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct found UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng responsible for sexual battery of Laya, a UC Irvine alum and current UCLA graduate student. Laya filed the case with the office last October 2010, shortly after the incident took place.

Director Edgar Dormitorio of the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct informed Laya via telephone yesterday that a decision had been reached. Laya was also informed that Cheng had seven days to appeal the case. Director Dormitorio stated that his office must wait those seven days before providing Laya with the actual sanctions leveled against Cheng. The Justice for Laya Coalition urges Director Dormitorio and the Dean of Students of UC Irvine to uphold their just and original decision against Cheng should an appeal be made. Coalition member and AF3IRM National Coordinator Amanda Martin said, "Let us not backtrack. This is just the first step of Justice for Laya."

Since the Laya case reached the public, various students, community members, youth, and women's organizations across California have created the Justice for Laya Coalition to demand that: 1) Jesse Cheng be removed from his post, 2) Laya receive full, legal justice and 2) Women's Resources and Centers in the University of California school system be funded so that other women will never have to face situations such as Laya's alone.

In light of the recent findings of the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct, the Justice for Laya Coalition heightens its call for its first demand: that Jesse Cheng to be removed from his position as the UC Student Regent! Mariposa Center for Change Board President, Dr. Annalisa Enrile stated, "A sexual batterer should not continue to represent the student voice.The UC Regents said they would take the lead from the UCI Office of Student Conduct. By not removing him from his office, the UC Regents are publicly condoning sexual battery and assault on their campuses."

The fact that a thorough investigation by the UCI Office of Student Conduct was conducted and found Cheng guilty only validates what the Justice for Laya Coalition has known all along - that Laya is deserving of swift, legal justice, and that Cheng is not a representative of the UC student population.

Join the Justice for Laya Coalition's actions:

Action at the Board of Regents Meeting:
Wednesday, March 16
UC San Francisco - Mission Bay Community Center
675 Owens Street, San Francisco

Press Conference in Los Angeles
Wednesday, March 16
12:00 noon
Feminist Majority Press Room
433 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212-4401

OC Weekly [BREAKING] Jesse Cheng, UC Student Regent, Found Guilty of Sexual Battery by UCI Student Dean's Office!!

The OC Weekly has published a new article stating

"Jesse Cheng [is] guilty of "unwanted touching"--essentially a misdemeanor sexual battery infraction"

It goes on saying " Our tipster says Edgar Dormitorio, the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct director, called Cheng's former girlfriend, a UCI alum and current UCLA graduate student identified only as "Laya," to let her know the decision had been reached. "

"Jesse Cheng tells the [OC] weekly he was "a little bit surprised" the student conduct office ruled against him." 

Full article here: 

Monday, February 21, 2011

OC Weekly 3rd Update: Student Regent Jesse Cheng's official statement

Student Regent Jesse Cheng's official statement regarding his sexual-battery arrest
I'm writing this statement to respond to a number of accusations made about me in various media outlets in the last week. Initially, I did not feel it was appropriate to comment because I was trying to defend the interests and privacy of all the students involved, including my former partner. I now feel like I have no choice but to explain fully what occurred.

I am innocent of all accusations made. These accusations have been extremely painful for me, especially because I have tried to acknowledge the privileges that I have as a man and support gender equality issues throughout my college career. It is work that is essential to my identity, and I would never engage in behavior that would compromise those values.

My former partner and I were in a committed relationship for almost a year. Near the end of the year, it was clear that the relationship was not working out, and I initiated the break up.

Afterward, we agreed to remain friends. We saw each other three times after the relationship ended, all three times we engaged in varying levels of consensual physical contact, none of which was forced or coerced, none of which was intercourse. The first time she invited me to be her date to a UCLA graduate school event. The next week, on Oct. 3, the night that would become the source of the accusations against me, I invited her over for dinner at my apartment in Irvine. That night, although we we engaged in kissing, all contact was consensual and we did not have sex. Afterward, we ate dinner at my apartment and watched a movie.

A week after this visit, she called me, and accused me of sexually assaulting her the week before. The phone conversation lasted for hours. My reaction during the phone call was that her description of events did not happen. In the following weeks, I would get as many as 50 calls a day from her. The amount of phone calls became extremely stressful and disruptive.

During the time of these phone calls, she requested I meet her personally at her apartment. I visited her apartment two weeks after Oct. 3. During that visit, she initiated and engaged physical intimacy. It was the third time we met after the break up, and a few weeks after the night she had claimed I behaved inappropriately.

The phone calls continued, and began to have a serious toll on my well-being. She demanded that I write e-mail apologies to her, and specifying exact language that she wanted to see in those e-mails. Exhausted, I sent out those e-mails. What I said in those e-mails are not true and did not reflect my behavior, but I thought that by adopting her language and meeting the standards she set out, we could both move forward. I regret lying to her in those e-mails, and it was a mistake to capitulate just so she would stop calling me incessantly.

On Nov. 4, the police arrested me on campus and took me back to the police department for questioning. We spoke about the relationship, that particular night and the entire situation. Three hours later, the police released me, and the DA declined to press any charges.

I know this last week has been extremely difficult for the campus community. It has been difficult for me and my friends. I would ask people to please thoughtfully consider both sides of a story and the entire context of a relationship before jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. I do not know why my former partner has chosen to make these accusations or make them at this time. I loved her very much, and I really wish for her the best in the future.
Full article here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

OC Weekly 2nd Update

Excerpts from OC Weekly:

The Mariposa Center for Change is also standing up for "Laya," the female UCLA graduate student who accused her ex-boyfriend Cheng of sexual battery last year. The center's statement, which includes a new quote from the alleged victim, follows.

The Mariposa Center for Change stands with Laya as she bravely speaks out against her attacker, Jesse Cheng, UC student regent, who was charged on Nov. 4, 2010, for sexual battery. Cheng, who was recently lauded as a "leader of student activists" by the Huffington Post, admitted to sexually assaulting Laya in his off-campus apartment on Oct. 3. The Mariposa Center for Change condemns Cheng's actions and the actions of the Orange County district attorney's office who have not taken any action at this time. In fact, the DA's office reports they have no records of any case under Cheng's name (according to the New UniversityNewspaper).

About 1 out of 5 college women will be sexually assaulted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Sixty-five percent of rapes go unreported, and 90 percent of those who are raped know the perpetrator. In most of these cases, even when the university prosecutes, rapists are able to appeal and get reduced penalties. For example, in some universities, expulsion may be appealed. In some cases of expulsion, students might even be able to re-enroll. More disturbing is that universities go out of their way to suppress reports of sexual assaults and rape.

Each year, about 4,000 U.S. college students report to their university that they have been sexually assaulted. The Center for Public Integrity and NPR's investigative unit teamed up to examine how universities respond to reports of sexual assault on campus. They found that months, sometimes years pass before universities respond, even though universities are responsible, according to the Jeanne Clery Act, to investigate and punish these crimes. A similar Dateline NBCinvestigation found that women were discouraged by university officials to move forward with their claims.

The fact that Cheng is a UC student regent raises even greater doubts as to whether the UC system will punish one of their own. Executive Director of the Mariposa Center for Change, Ivy Quichosaid, "We are concerned that there has been no response from the DA's office or no decision from the University of California, Irvine's Student Conduct Office. These actions point to a lack of urgency to address the attack of a student, at best, and a blatant cover-up to protect a UC student regent, at worst."

Despite Laya's fear and anxiety to talk about what happened to her, she is unwavering in her commitment to the truth. "I knew I had to say something," she said to the Mariposa Center for Change. "What if he did this to someone else? He has to be held accountable." Laya continues to tell her story even as she faces intimidation and victim blaming. The Mariposa Center for Change demands Justice for Laya and invites others to attend a community meeting on Feb. 17, 2011, at the UCI Campus Cross Cultural Center at 6 p.m. Those interested should contact ave@mariposacenterforchange.org.

The Mariposa Center for Change is a nonprofit center dedicated to investigating, codifying and implementing the theory and practice of an activist feminism for immigrant-based, transnational communities. We work with women and children and aim to improve social, political and economic conditions and end inequality through an empowered sisterhood, transformative programming, grassroots organizing and strategic alliances.

  • Cheng was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery of Nov. 4, 2010. The case was submitted by the Irvine Police Department to the OCDA as a misdemeanor sexual battery. The OCDA declined to file charges due to insufficient evidence to win a conviction on the misdemeanor. Thus, Cheng was never charged with the crime.

  • The OCDA does have records of the case.

  • The UCI Office of Student Conduct says its investigation is ongoing, and an administrator with the Oakland-based UC has been appointed to ensure the campus probe is fair.

  • According to the statement, the community meeting was on campus last night. TheWeekly was not e-mailed the statement until just after 12:30 this morning.

Meanwhile, there are rumors swirling around campus that Cheng tried to kill the New University story that exposed his arrest and threatened to sue the student newspaper. Managing editor Traci Garling Lee, who wrote the piece with editor David Gao, would not confirm or deny that for the Weekly because all conversations they had with Cheng before publication were off the record.

Full article here:

Occupy UCI- Jesse Cheng arrested for attempted rape

We have previously been appreciative of Cheng’s support for students during the past two years of budget cuts and fee hikes, but we feel that Cheng no longer represents the interests of UC students and should immediately step down.  We understand the complexity of rape accusations, but Cheng’s email is an admission of guilt, and even if he isn’t criminally prosecuted, he must do everything in his ability to make himself accountable to Laya and to the UCI community.

Additionally, it must be stated that the lack of interest in this case by the OCDA demonstrates the absolute hypocrisy of the criminal “justice” system and the UCI administration.  We stand firmly in opposition to the prison system and Prison-Industrial Complex, but we must question why Cheng, who caused and attempted to cause physical and emotional harm to another person, is not being charged, while 30 students and community supporters are facing criminal charges–possibly resulting in prison time–for participating in protests in which no one was injured and no harm was intended.

Full article here:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

OC Weekly 1st Update: Jesse Cheng's response

Excepts from the OC Weekly:

UPDATE, FEB. 16, 4:43 P.M.: Before we get to the meat of this post--an interview with UC Student Regent Jesse Chengabout his arrest for allegedly trying to rape a UCLA graduate student in his apartment near UC Irvine and the reaction to that news--we pause for a brief word from the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA).

Photo by Daniel A. Anderson/University Communications
Jesse Cheng says he has no plans to step down as the UC student regent before his term ends.
Cheng was on the UCI campus when I called him today. After he ducked into a quiet corner so we could speak, I asked for his comment on Tuesday's New University article with a woman's explosive allegations against the UC student regent and Asian American studies major.

"Well, first of all, I'm innocent," Cheng wanted to make clear. "It was a messy relationship. It was a really bad breakup."

Of the attempted rape allegation, Cheng said, "Nothing of the sort" happened.

But the New U reported e-mails exist between Cheng and his alleged victim, identified as "Laya," in which he is said to have apologized for attacking his former girlfriend of a year.

"The police have all that," Cheng explained, "and they said there was no evidence, nothing to push forward a case. There were no charges because nothing happened."

For now, Cheng has no plans to step down as student regent before his term ends in July.

"That would be an admission of guilt," he said. "People have mentioned that students need to trust their student regent. If it's true, if it's not true, students still have to believe the person serving them. It's a fair question to ask."

For now, the University of California is trusting Cheng, at least until the results from a UCI Office of Student Conduct investigation are in. "This is a student matter that is being handled by the campus in accord with standard processes covered by student privacy laws," Steve Montiel, UC President Mark Yudof's president, told the Bay Area's Bay Citizen. "While there is no indication that any of this has anything to do with Jesse Cheng's position as a regent, this matter also is being reviewed by UC's senior vice president-chief compliance and audit officer." That officer's job will be to ensure the campus investigation was fair, not whether the allegations against Cheng were true, Montiel added.

When I mentioned to Cheng that nothing I read about him before his arrest had painted him as the type of "player" one could see caught in middle of attempted rape allegations, Cheng broke out in a laugh before responding, "No. Not at all. Not even close."

He quickly shifted to a more serious tone. "I'm a man, and I recognize in this society, men have a lot of privileges. Violence against women is a serious issue. Throughout my college career, I have stood up against violence against women."

Given his stands, did it ever occur to him he would find himself in his current situation?

"No. It's mind-blowing," he said. "I mean, really, I was suddenly taken by surprise. I'm a very straight-edge kind of dude. I don't drink, I don't smoke. I have constantly been shocked by this. . . . I also want to say that while I'm innocent, I don't want this case to be reflective of other cases of violence against women, which does exist."

Because it exists, he understood why he was arrested before his accuser's allegations could be fully investigated.

"She came to police," he said. "They did their due diligence. They also released me without charges. . . . I'm not holding anything against anyone. I totally understand."

Since the allegations got out Tuesday, Cheng said the reaction to him on the UCI campus has been "a heavily mixed bag."

"There's been a good amount of support," he said. "I'm grateful for that. A lot has come from people I've worked with in the past. . . . But a good many people are confused by it. I don't hold that against them--how could I?"

When asked if anyone whispers to another as he walks by, Cheng replied, "There have been a number of people looking at me. It's very scary at times. Actually, I'm kind of scared shitless."

To the claims of Laya and some who have commented to the online coverage that Cheng wields power that has silenced his enemies and kept the incident out of the media for months, Cheng asked, "Do you want to be super-real?"

Go for it, Mr. Student Regent.

"Trust me, this post doesn't have power to do anything," he said. "I don't know why they waited so long [to release news of his arrest], but I have no power to stop it. I can't even stop a fee increase from happening. . . . Politically, no one's protecting my ass. . . . Last year, people were graffiting on my door over the fee increase. I couldn't even stop that. . . . I have no influence over that case; I do not even have enough power to defend my innocence."

Cheng said he has had no contact with Laya since last October. While he claims he had no direct knowledge she would go public with the allegations at this time, he did admit to having a nagging sense something bad "was coming down the line."

"When the New U contacted me, I was scared shitless to say anything. I knew a student conduct investigation was going on, so I didn't think I could comment," he said. "Plus, I might say something stupid."

Once the news did hit, Cheng had no idea things would get this "crazy."

He said he does not blame the newspaper for reporting the allegations; he even credited the student journalists for "doing their due diligence." But to fill in some of the blanks from the news coverage, he plans to issue a full statement--once he has time to wrap his head around it all.

"I wish people heard the whole story before jumping to judgment," Cheng said. "It was a bad breakup. This is not even the result of a miscommunication. Nothing of the sort happened."

He did not want to speculate why Laya chose to go public, saying, "I don't want to villainize her. I don't think that would be fair to her."

He said he has no current plans to take legal action against the messengers.

"You know, a lot of people have talked about it," Cheng said. "I'm going to be real: It's a campus newspaper. I support the work they do. I might not like it, I might think this was a harsh article, but I support the work they do."

He did add one caveat. "If they go ahead and do something else . . . maybe."

Not that he has time to think about that right now.

"I'm literally just tying to pass Chinese," he said.

Full article here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

OC Weekly ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 15, 4:48 P.M

OC Weekly:
Jesse Cheng, the 10-school University of California Governing Board's student regent and a fifth-year Asian American studies major at UC Irvine, was arrested last November for sexual battery.

The Orange County district attorney's office apparently declined to file charges.

The alleged victim--a female graduate student from UCLA--has now brought the case to the attention of UC Irvine's student newspaper, which posted her explosive allegations today.

The New University report by managing editor Traci Garling Lee and editor David Gao states Irvine Police Department's adult arrest roster for the month of November shows Cheng was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery Nov. 4, 2010, at his off-campus apartment at 4771 Campus Dr., Irvine. His alleged victim, identified as "Laya," first reported the incident to cops on Oct. 26, claiming Cheng tried to rape her in his apartment on Oct. 3.

Photo by Daniel A. Anderson/University Communications
UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng reportedly apologized repeatedly to the female victim of an alleged sexual assault in the weeks leading up to his arrest.
Reached via phone today by the Weekly, Irvine Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Julia Engen confirmed the dates for the alleged assault, initial report to police and sexual-battery arrest. Engen did not have the exact date the case was submitted to the OCDA for charges, but she surmised it was the same week as the arrest.

The New U reports that Laya was told by Irvine Police Detective Tom Goodbrand that the OCDA decided to not press charges against Cheng. That's followed by an unidentified OCDA spokesperson saying the agency has "no record of the case under Cheng's name at the time."

Susan Schroeder, the OCDA chief of staff, today gave a possible explanation to theWeekly: The employee keyed into a computer search the wrong spelling of the suspect's name, and without a date of birth, the Cheng file could not be found at the time the New Ucalled.

Engen says she told Lee to contact the OCDA again to find out what happened to the case. It was Schroeder's understanding the reporter did not do that. But Lee tells the Weekly she spoke with the OCDA's office several times throughout last week and gave several spellings of Cheng's name, including his birth date, and nothing came up.

Lee concedes she was encouraged to call the OCDA back if she could get any more arrest information out of Irvine Police but that no additional details were released to her.

"I can assure you we did our due diligence," Lee tells me.

Full Article here:

New University article

On February 15, 2011 the New University published the following article.

On Nov. 4, 2010, UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng was arrested for sexual battery, according to the Irvine Police Department’s adult arrest roster for the month of November. The victim, a UCLA graduate student who has asked to be named as “Laya,” reported the attack to the police a few weeks after the incident.

According to the arrest roster, Cheng was arrested on the afternoon of Nov. 4 at 4771 Campus Dr. for sexual battery. IPD’s daily log for the arrest confirms that the incident was reported on Oct. 26 and Cheng was arrested and booked the following week in Irvine. However, he is not currently facing criminal charges.

Cheng, a fifth-year Asian American studies major at UC Irvine, is the current UC Student Regent and represents over 200,000 students at the 10 UC campuses throughout California. Here at UCI, Cheng has been actively involved in ASUCI, the Student Fee Advisory Committee and the Asian Pacific Student Association.

Cheng declined to comment on the record.

According to Laya’s accounts, Cheng attempted to rape her in his off-campus apartment on Oct. 3 after she said no to his advances. Laya reported the incident to IPD at the end of October and then to UCI’s Office of Student Conduct in November after Cheng’s arrest.

Dr. Mandy Mount, director of UCI Campus Assault Resources and Education (CARE), stated that most cases of sexual violence are rarely reported to authorities, but acknowledged that UCI was “proactive and responsive in these cases.”

In a series of emails over the course of October, which were disclosed to the New University and also given to the police and to Student Conduct, Cheng repeatedly apologized to Laya for sexually assaulting her.
In December, Laya was told by Detective Tom Goodbrand of IPD that the Orange County District Attorney’s office had decided not to press charges.

IPD confirms that the case was sent to the DA’s office in November but, according to Spokesperson Farrah Emami at the DA’s office, they have no record of the case under Cheng’s name at the time.

Full article here:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jesse Cheng Police Report

For the original PDF copy of Jesse Cheng's police report, which was made public online for a while, please email justiceforlaya@gmail.com

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Justice for Laya

This blog will serve as a central location for all information regarding allegations against Jesse Cheng. We hope to document and archive the progress of the on-going investigation.