In 2018, a UCLA graduate student sent a complaint to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights that alleged that University employees had threatened to file a manufactured sexual violence – sexual harassment (SVSH) claim against that student in retaliation for the student’s support for a former UCLA faculty member. In addition, the student alleged that UCLA’s Title IX Office, which reports to the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, had failed to provide timely notice about an alleged Title IX complaint. Given the seriousness of the charges and the need to ensure the integrity of the Title IX investigatory process, the Vice Chancellor asked UCLA’s Administrative Policies & Compliance Office to conduct an independent investigation, outside of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
The Administrative Policies & Compliance Office hired an independent, external investigation firm, which conducted an extensive investigation—based on document review and thirteen (13) witness and subject interviews—and prepared a 58-page single-spaced report. The report determined, based on the preponderance of the evidence, that the graduate student’s retaliation claim was unfounded. According to the report, although the subject employees engaged in further conversations inconsistent with the UC SVSH Prevention training, considerable evidence showed that the employees’ primary intent was to protect the graduate student. The investigation found little evidence to support the graduate student’s claim that the underlying Title IX complaint was manufactured, and there was insufficient evidence to support the graduate student’s claim that the employees threatened to file a Title IX claim. To the contrary, there was considerable evidence that the employees did not delay in contacting the Title IX Office. The investigation further found that the Title IX Office acted consistent with UC SVSH Policy and local UCLA procedures that specify when the Office provides notice to respondents.
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion takes extremely seriously any allegation that the Title IX investigatory process has been exploited or abused for personal or political purposes and will work diligently to prevent such abuses from occurring.