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)


[ 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: