Two UC Merced employees have been disciplined since June 2016 for alleged sexual misconduct against female students, and a third employee resigned related to another investigation, according to public records made available by the University of California.
The reports, which were provided to the Daily Californian, outline claims of inappropriate touching, belittling comments and repeated unwanted marriage proposals by UC Merced employees to students who worked for them.
Officials from the UC system did not immediately make the same documents available to the Sun-Star on Thursday. The Daily Californian published the documents on its website.
UC Merced declined to comment specifically on the individual cases, according to spokesperson James Leonard.
“UC Merced, like all of our sister campuses in the University of California, takes very seriously any and all allegations of improper behavior by members of the campus community,” Leonard said in a statement. “We investigate all complaints fully to determine whether wrongdoing occurred and if so, act swiftly to ensure that our students, faculty and staff are able to enjoy a safe, peaceful and welcoming environment.”
The reports are heavily redacted, leaving out specific departments where the harassment took place. Most of the pronouns are redacted, making the gender of some of the victims unclear.
A March 2017 report describes a male faculty member who supervised student employees. He proposed to a student "20 times" and called another a "child bride," according to the report. Students said they spoke up to make sure "no other women" could be harassed.
During a work-related hike, the supervisor twice told a female student she had a "nice ass," and tried to laugh off the comment and hug the student when she told him his comments made her uncomfortable, the report says.
Students said he commented on one employee's "short shorts" saying they made him "question his beliefs," according to the report.
The supervisor also told multiple women they were using their looks to get what they wanted, adding beauty is fleeting, the report says. On one occasion, he made an employee watch a video at work that was disparaging of homosexuality, an incident multiple students corroborated, the report says.
That supervisor was required to take a two-hour sexual harassment training, and his interactions and emails with female students must be supervised by his boss, the report says.
The report does not name the coach who touched players "between their legs, in an area described as their upper thighs, and closer to their waists.” David Noble, the former UC Merced Associate Director of Recreation and Athletics and men's volleyball coach, resigned after a January 2017 report, according to the records. His resignation letter is attached to that report.
More than one player reported being touched by a coach while on the court or in his office, the documents say. The players, and other players who witnessed the touching, said it made them feel "awkward" or "uncomfortable," the report says.
The coach said he'd been coaching for 20 years and touching the players was not uncommon. "In my role, it's not OK. I have to change. I want to change," he said in the report.
The third employee was investigated in a June 2016 report after allegedly commenting on women’s bodies and calling them "Mama," "Ms. Thang" and "Girlfriend."
He typically assigned female employees to work in the office with him, and the men worked out on the campus, according to testimony from multiple employees.
More than one employee said he commented on one employee's cleavage and said "If I were young again," the report says. The supervisor admitted to many of the accusations, the report says.
He defended his use of terms like "Mama," saying it was a term of endearment. He said he would use the term "Papachulio" (sic) when talking to male employees, according to the report.
He was disciplined with a two-day suspension and required not to act inappropriately anymore, according to the report.
The three reports from UC Merced come about a year after seven similar reports were made available to reporters. Across the UC system, 113 cases occurred from January 2013 through April 6, 2016, and include allegations that range from inappropriate conduct to sexual assault. All 113 cases involve employees found to have violated the University’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment policy.