The UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct has released its findings in a case that saw UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng arrested — and then released without charges — last fall.
Cheng was accused of attempted rape last October by a woman with whom he had previously had a relationship. He was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor sexual battery a few weeks later, but the district attorney’s office declined to bring charges.
Now, however, the UCI Office of Student Conduct has found that Cheng engaged in “unwanted touching” of a sexual nature, and placed him on probation.
Cheng denies the charges, and says that emails he sent to the accuser in which he admitted to, and apologized for, sexual assault and attempted rape were written under duress, at the accuser’s request. “She was calling me 50 times a day for two hours on the phone a day,” he said last month. “I was extremely stressed out. So I lied in the e-mails to do whatever I could to move forward with my life.”
Cheng has said that he does not intend to step down from his seat on the Board of Regents before his term ends this summer, but one feminist organization plans to hold an action at this Wednesday’s regents meeting to demand that he be removed from the board.
Monday Update | The Daily Cal has a story out this morning that suggests that Cheng’s continued service on the Board of Regents may be in doubt. The paper also reports that the chair of the Board of Regents has requested a review of the Office of Student Conduct’s procedures, followed by a meeting of the board’s Committee on Governance “to determine what action, if any, is warranted.” In an email to the paper, the chair went on to say that “students will continue to have representation by Student Regent-designate (Alfredo) Mireles” while the above process was playing out, a statement that seems to imply that Cheng is currently under some sort of formal or informal suspension from the board. Cheng himself declined to comment to the Daily Cal on his status as Student Regent or whether he will be in attendance at Wednesday’s board meeting.