Former UCSB Student Files Title IX Civil Lawsuit Against UC Regents


Gwendolyn Wu
AS Beat Reporter

A former University of California, Santa Barbara student formally announced plans on Wed., Dec. 16 to file a civil lawsuit against the University of California Board of Regents for Title IX violations in the mishandling of her sexual assault case.

Riverside native Hayley Moore was a first year at UCSB in Oct. 2014 when she was raped. Moore claims she was drugged at a party in Isla Vista, and then dragged into the assailant’s apartment and raped before waking up the next morning on a street in the community. She withdrew from school after fall quarter.

The former English major reported the incident to campus and local authorities, but says that UCSB encouraged her not to file a formal report. If the university did as she claims, this would be in direct violation of Title IX, a federal law that aims to end sex discrimination in all aspects of higher education, and applies not only to discrimination and equity laws, but sexual harassment and assault as well.

“I don’t even like to think that I went to that school, honestly,” Moore said about UCSB at a press conference on Thurs., Dec. 17. Moore went on to state that she is against this happening to women and the lack of justice that comes along with it. “This school honestly makes me sick.”

Moore will be represented by San Diego-based Zalkin Law Firm, which specializes in working with survivors of sexual abuse. Her attorney, Alexander Zalkin, stated to radio station KGO 810 that Moore will be seeking an unspecified amount of monetary compensation and wishes to spotlight the issue of sexual assault on campus.

“Title IX requires that any institution that receives federal funding ends gender discrimination on their campus, and what that means is when they receive a report of sexual assault,” Zalkin said, “they are obligated to address that report, and what we’ve alleged in our complaint is that [UC] Santa Barbara failed to live up to any of these standards. They never investigated Hayley’s report. They actively discouraged her from pursuing any kind of investigation with the school.”

Moore’s report coincides with a UCSB crime alert released on Oct. 30, 2014 about numerous incidents of sexual assault on campus. While individual alerts are usually issued for reports, UCPD instead released one email, which stated that they had been aware of “multiple reports of sexual assaults over the past several weeks that have all been connected to parties hosted in the Isla Vista community.” The same report encouraged other survivors to reach out to campus resources and reminded the community of affirmative consent laws.

According to UCPD public records for Oct. 2014, which are not official police reports made by victims, a “sex crime – rape” was reported on Oct. 17, the only sex crime-related report of the month. UCPD states on their website that they may, according to federal law, withhold cases from their crime log should it jeopardize the confidentiality or safety of the victim.

The UC Office of the President cannot comment on the pending lawsuit at the time, but spokesperson Rebecca Trounsen stated that President Janet Napolitano assembled a working task force in the summer of 2014 to work on how the system responds to and prevents sexual assault.

UCSB also does not comment on pending litigation, but released the following statement in response.

“When a student experiences a sexual assault, the University offers independent and confidential advocacy and counseling services,” the statement says. “If the student chooses to formally report their assault to the University, the allegations are thoroughly investigated and adjudicated in accordance with UC policy and government guidelines. We strive to ensure that our investigative processes are survivor-centered, but we understand that not every survivor opts to formally report their assault. In all cases we continue to offer support and counseling to assault survivors, as the safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority.”

Gwendolyn Wu is a third year double majoring in history and sociology, and is the 2016-2017 Executive Content Editor of The Bottom Line. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and attended Cleveland High School, and is interested in pursuing journalism as a career. When not poring over history books, she's watching Cutthroat Kitchen and mentoring first year students.