Former UCSB student Haley Moore filed a Title IX Civil Lawsuit against the Regents of the University of California on Thursday, claiming UCSB failed to adequately address and investigate her case after receiving the complaints in October 2014.
Moore’s civil action case is based on “Gender Discrimination” under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. According to the plaintiff, she suffered the loss of educational opportunities after being sexually assaulted in October 2014, ultimately being forced to withdraw from the university in January 2015 due to “deliberate indifference” on the part of the university.
According to the case, Moore’s cousin reported the sexual assault to the police the morning after the incident. Moore provided a statement to UCPD and went to Campus Advocacy Resources & Education (C.A.R.E.) the next day to schedule a counseling session. After Moore received a session with an intern seven to 10 days later, Moore’s father contacted Marisa Huston, Assistant Coordinator of Student Mental Health Services and requested his daughter be able to promptly meet with an experienced counselor. Moore met with Huston two to three days later and was allegedly made to wait 10 minutes and told that Huston was not obligated to the keep the contents of the meeting confidential. During this counseling session, Moore expressed concern about losing her financial aid and student housing if she dropped classes and was told by Huston that these could both be potential problems.
The case states Kirsten Olson, the Assistant Clinical Director and Administrative Services Coordinator called Moore three to four days after the counseling session and scheduled a meeting for a few days later.
“At the meeting, Olson immediately began talking to Moore about her grades. She asked Moore if Moore had considered withdrawing from UCSB. Moore informed Olson that she did not want to withdraw. Olson responded by questioning Moore’s decision not to withdraw, and informed Moore that there were counseling measures Moore could engage in during the time she was withdrawn from UCSB,” the case states.
According to the case, Moore also had a phone call with Joe O’Brien, Assistant Dean and Director of Advising at UCSB, and was told that if she reduced her course load, she would be ineligible for both financial aid and UCSB housing. Moore also made efforts to switch her counselor at C.A.R.E., but ran into several roadblocks.
In January 2015, Moore received a letter from UCSB informing her of academic probation due to poor academic performance during her first quarter at UCSB. In late January, four months after first reporting her assault to UCSB, Moore withdrew from the university.
The plaintiff alleges that UCSB’s Title IX coordinator was never informed of her sexual assault report and that she was not provided adequate or timely counseling from C.A.R.E. after the sexual assault. Moore’s case also claims UCSB did not take any action to investigate Moore’s report of sexual assault by another UCSB student after she expressed a desire for some “remedial action” to be taken with regard to her report. In response to this request, the university allegedly told Moore an investigation would take a long time, be difficult emotionally and distract Moore from her studies. She was also told a school investigation would likely interfere with, and possibly even sabotage, the criminal investigation of Moore’s assault.
The case also states Moore encountered the perpetrator of her sexual assault at least one time on campus after the incident, causing Moore to quickly leave the area after suffering a panic attack.
“The mere presence on campus, without any restrictions, of the student that sexually assaulted Moore made Moore vulnerable to additional harassment and further exposed her to a sexually hostile environment,” the case states.
The plaintiff also claims she was deprived of several education opportunities, including but not limited to: a drop in her GPA, withdrawal from several classes, avoidance of several social activities on campus, the need to seek multiple accommodations from UCSB and eventual withdrawal from UCSB.
“As a result of Defendant Trustees’ deliberate indifference, Plaintiff suffered loss of educational opportunities and/or benefits, has incurred and will continue to incur attorney fees and costs of litigation,” the case states.
UCSB and the University of California Office of the President were both unable to comment, stating the case is currently pending litigation.
UCSB Public Affairs office said while they could not comment on the case, the safety and well-being of students is the university’s highest priority, and students’ cases are treated with care and confidential advocacy.
“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,” the statement reads.