A Santa Barbara County Superior Court tentative ruling has denied a former UCSB student his request to return to the school after being expelled for a sexual assault offense.
In the tentative ruling, issued yesterday, the court denied a request by former UCSB student Gregor G. L. McIver to reinstate his university enrollment status after administrators revoked it based on a violation of campus regulations that prohibit sexual assault. The university’s Student-Faculty Committee on Student Conduct concluded on April 21, 2006 that there was sufficient evidence to remove McIver from the university after he was accused of having nonconsensual sex with an intoxicated minor in 2004 at the Sigma Chi fraternity house, of which he was a member.
According to the rules of the superior court, a tentative ruling may be issued in a civil case – in this instance, McIver vs. the UC Regents – on the day before a scheduled hearing date. This will serve as the court’s final ruling if the parties make no objections or challenges. As of Tuesday night, the Santa Barbara County Superior Court website showed no future scheduled court dates for the case.
The court decided yesterday that the initial decision of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Michael Young, to expel McIver – which was later supported by Chancellor Henry T. Yang on an appeal – was based on substantial evidence that met the standards of campus policies, and was in line with appropriate procedure.
Deputy District Attorney Margaret O’Malley handled the criminal proceedings of the case, which ended in a plea bargain. In the court’s ruling, O’Malley, who also attended university judicial proceedings, is reported to have said that she would have pursued rape charges, but could not as the investigation had been “bungled” and law enforcement did not pursue the case properly.
The UCSB Student-Faculty Committee on Student Conduct found McIver guilty of violating code 102.08 of the Campus Regulations, which prohibits UCSB students from engaging in nonconsensual sex.
McIver, along with two other students, allegedly raped an under-aged intoxicated female at the Sigma Chi fraternity house on Sept. 21, 2004. The committee ruled that McIver should be dismissed from the university with no possibility of reinstatement after one year.
However, in his petition to the court, McIver said the woman had consensual sex with him and his roommate, and with another student earlier in the evening. He said the woman did not appear to be intoxicated.
Sigma Chi Fraternity lost its university recognition last year, though it is unclear whether this incident influenced the university’s decision to revoke the charter’s recognition. The official reasoning was due to the fraternity’s “risk management” violations.
Sigma Chi Fraternity Consul Travis Wong said the university’s decision was based on a number of events that were not specifically mentioned in its termination letter to the fraternity. Wong said McIver had not been a member of Sigma Chi since Fall 2005.
“He was released from the frat; [the allegations were] definitely part of it,” Wong said. “We purged a lot of our members in Fall 2005 as part of the things we did to be proactive in our chapter… it was a necessary step to move in a forward direction.”
Yesterday’s ruling said McIver based his request for reinstatement to the university on two separate claims: that the university did not give him a fair hearing, and the university’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence. The court found that the university did not violate its written procedure in any way during the hearing, and the committee’s decision was supported by substantial evidence, including journal entries written by the alleged victim, and two expert witnesses.
UCSB Student Advocate Chris Karlin said university judicial proceedings and criminal court processes are completely separate. University decisions are not based on evidence beyond a reasonable doubt like criminal courts, but on a preponderance of evidence. In addition, 51 percent of the committee on student conduct must find the person responsible based on the evidence presented.
Karlin said the university’s decision would go on McIver’s disciplinary record and while other UCs might honor UCSB’s decision to not let him back into school, it would be up to each school’s discretion.
“Generally, a crime committed at one UC applies to other UCs,” Karlin said. “A person will still be held responsible at other schools. This will be on his permanent disciplinary record; schools are going to see it right away if he applies there.”