The UC Student Association (UCSA) passed a resolution last Saturday demanding Regent Norman Pattiz be dismissed from the UC Board of Regents.
Pattiz, a media mogul and member of the Board of Regents since 2001, was asked to resign by the UC Student Association in 2016 in light of several publicized sexual harassment complaints. The new resolution, co-sponsored by UCSA Treasurer Parshan Khosravi and UCSA Basic Needs Officer Matthew Lewis, expands on the previous resolution with new information and requests that Pattiz be dismissed by any government official who has the power to do so.
Refilwe Gqajela, Associated Students Vice President of External Affairs, said that in the recent UCSA Board Meeting where the resolution was passed, UC Regents Chair of the Board George Kieffer was dismissive of student concerns.
“He [Kieffer] talked about it pretty dismissively,” Gqajela said. “We had to reiterate the fact that there was video evidence and that it wasn’t just sexual assault, but also gun violence.”
Rigel Robinson, Berkeley External Affairs Vice President, interjected during Kieffer’s talk during the meeting to note that there is audio evidence of Pattiz’s conduct, after Kieffer continually referred to the charges against Pattiz as “allegations.”
In November 2016, The Los Angeles Times reported that Pattiz had asked a colleague, Heather McDonald, if he could hold her breasts while they were filming a radio commercial. “Wait a minute—can I hold your breasts? Would that help?” Pattiz said to McDonald, who left PodcastOne not long after the incident. Pattiz told the Times that he “deeply regrets” his behavior.
The Daily Californian reported last November that several women who have worked with Pattiz have also said that he has consistently made remarks that have made them uncomfortable. Emilia Dantes, a friend of one of Pattiz’s former employees Ji Min Park, described Park’s experience with Pattiz.
“She was miserable and felt sick to her stomach every day. Wondering, is he going to come upstairs today? What will he say? Is this the day he grabs me or touches me?” Dantes told The Daily Californian in an email.
As a reserve officer in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Pattiz is also known to carry a gun. Last month, a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court was brought against Pattiz for allegedly brandishing his gun against a former employee who objected to Pattiz’s use of false advertising statistics.
The resolution demands, in light of this information, that Pattiz be removed from all UC Regents committees, that Pattiz only be allowed make votes on the floor, Pattiz be banned from all UC property (except during Regents meetings), and the Regents vote to endorse the resignation and removal of Pattiz from office.
They also request that Regent Pattiz immediately resign, that the California State Legislature remove Pattiz, and that the governor and the attorney general explore whether the governor can remove Pattiz from office, and if so, that he does.
“It’s literally gaslighting,” Gqajela said of the UC Regents attitude towards the charges. “It’s a manipulation of power to say I know that this is what you’re looking at and tell you it’s not there.” The resolution states that if its demands are not implemented by the end of the calendar year, UCSA will hold a vote of no confidence in the University of California Board of Regents.
“If the UC also just follows along with that narrative and doesn’t hold the folks who are in the highest position of leadership accountable,” Gqajela said, “what does that say to students about what the institution stands for?”
Gabe Schneider is the News Editor at The Triton.