In summer 2018 the UC Santa Barbara Police Department sent a report to the UC Davis Police Department outlining allegations of sexual assault against a UC Davis employee. The report indicated that the complainant had explicitly requested that a criminal investigation be completed before the complainant’s name or the respondent’s name were released to the UC Davis Office of Compliance and Policy (Title IX office). UC Davis police notified the City of Davis police because the report indicated that three sexual assaults had allegedly occurred within the city limits but not on the UC Davis campus. Consistent with the complainant’s request, UC Davis police also shared limited, de-identified information with the Title IX office, which was not sufficient to commence an investigation at that time.
In January 2021 the UC Davis Title IX office learned from a recently filed civil lawsuit of allegations related to the 2018 complaint. The civil lawsuit alleged that, in 2010, UC Davis professor Ting Guo sexually assaulted a high school student who had worked in his laboratory. The university took these allegations seriously. Guo was immediately placed on administrative leave and has remained on leave since. While on leave, he was instructed not to contact the complainant or any UC Davis student or employee, or to come onto campus, without prior permission.
The Title IX office then launched an independent investigation to determine if violations of University policy had occurred. The Title IX Office learned the complainant’s identity after the investigation began. The complainant was not, and has never been, enrolled as a student at UC Davis. Guo was appointed to the UC Davis faculty in 1999.
Due to issues related to student and employee privacy laws, we are unable to address or confirm specific details of the process. We can confirm that the internal processes remain ongoing, and appropriate UC policies and procedures are being followed to address this serious matter. We cannot comment further on the specific case at this time.
Guo had participated as a mentor in the Young Scholars Program, a summer program in which high school students complete a research project in a campus lab, until 2019. The program was not held in 2020 and Guo was on administrative leave in 2021. The complainant was not a participant in the Young Scholars Program.
Chancellor Gary S. May has requested that Chief Compliance Officer Wendi Delmendo initiate an independent, external and comprehensive review of all UC Davis programs involving youths with the goal of further strengthening our policies and procedures. Other aspects of the review are detailed below. The findings of the review will be shared publicly when complete.
Disciplinary process for Senate faculty
While we cannot comment on the specifics of this case, we share the following information to provide context about the faculty discipline process in general. When a university investigation finds that a tenured or tenure-track member of the faculty violated policy on sexual violence or sexual harassment, the Chancellor engages a campus Peer Review Committee of faculty to consult on the appropriate level of sanctions. The Chancellor then proposes sanctions, which may range from a letter of censure up to dismissal from the University. The faculty member may choose to accept or reject the proposed sanctions. If they do not accept the proposed sanction, a charge is filed with the Committee on Privilege and Tenure of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, which conducts a hearing and makes findings of fact, conclusions regarding violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct, and recommends a sanction (if applicable) to the Chancellor.
Authority for dismissal of a tenured professor ultimately rests with the UC Board of Regents, acting on the recommendation of the UC President, in consultation with the Chancellor.
External review information
The review will be conducted by Eve Peek Fichtner, a partner with the law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. She has extensive experience conducting impartial, prompt, thorough and effective investigations and reviews related to the educational environment and the workplace. Fichtner has received training certificates from the Association of Title IX Administrators and T9 Mastered, and specializes in Title IX investigations. She has expertise conducting trauma informed interviews and interviewing minors and provides training on these topics throughout California. She also serves as a neutral hearing officer for the University of California, the California State University system and private universities. Fichtner serves as counsel to public community colleges, school districts, and county offices of education for personnel matters, student issues, and all forms of discrimination and harassment claims. She specializes in resolution-based services to clients, including developing MOU’s between law enforcement agencies and education institutions, conducting workplace coaching for employees and supervisors, providing conflict resolution training, and conducting facilitated meetings. Additional information about Fichtner’s qualifications can be found on AALRR’s website.
The scope of the review is as follows:
- A comprehensive review of all activities that occurred in University facilities involving minors from 2010 to present. Determine what protections have been in place for minors participating in these programs and whether there are areas for improvement.
- Review whether there are sufficient protocols in place governing communication and information sharing between the UC Davis Police Department and the UC Davis Title IX Office.
- Whether anyone in a leadership position in the chemistry department knew or should have known about sexual misconduct concerns related to Ting Guo between 2010 and 2021 and whether those concerns were appropriately reported. If so, whether appropriate action was taken to respond to concerns.
Fichtner will have access to all relevant university records and employees in conducting her review.
Sexual Misconduct Support and Reporting
Sexual misconduct has no place at UC Davis, and the university works to create a community that is inclusive and welcoming to all. UC Davis is committed to responding promptly and effectively to all reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment. UC Davis fully complies with UC’s robust policy and process for reviewing and investigating allegations of sexual harassment and sexual violence. More information and resources are available at https://sexualviolence.ucdavis.edu.
Cases of sexual violence, sexual harassment and discrimination may be reported to the Harassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program (HDAPP). https://sexualviolence.ucdavis.edu/file-report
The UC Davis CARE office provides confidential resources for survivors of sexual assault. https://sexualviolence.ucdavis.edu/get-support
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