UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng resigned from his position yesterday for personal reasons following recent allegations of sexual battery.
Cheng, a fifth-year Asian American studies major at UC Irvine, was arrested for sexual battery of a former girlfriend in November 2010. While he was never officially charged with a crime, the UCI Office of Student Conduct found Cheng responsible for “unwanted touching” in March. Student Regent-designate Alfredo Mireles Jr., a UC San Francisco graduate student, will assume voting duties at today’s Regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay.
In an open letter posted to his blog, Cheng — who served as a student regent for two years — said the accusations were loosely founded but impacted his ability to perform his job.
“It is a much lower standard of evidence than a criminal court, but I also recognize that the process nevertheless applies to me as a student,” Cheng said in the letter. “I think it would be best for the students and the University of California if I step down at this time.”
Jasmine Heidari, a fourth-year UCI political science and international studies major and friend of Cheng’s, said public pressure was the main factor in his resignation.
“He was getting a lot of attention on him just because of that issue,” Heidari said. “He just didn’t want the attention on him anymore; he wanted it to be about things that actually mattered — what he took the role for.”