Cal Poly officials are in the midst of investigations involving multiple sexual assault accusations against the same individual, according to numerous sources with direct knowledge of the cases.
At least seven complaints have been brought forward to Safer. At least one Title IX investigation will conclude Oct. 6, according to a written document shown to Mustang News. There is at least one other ongoing Title IX investigation.
University spokesperson Matt Lazier said because of privacy concerns, the university cannot acknowledge or comment on any specific Title IX investigations.
Safer Coordinator Kara Samaniego addressed Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority at a chapter meeting May 14, telling the chapter that Safer had received multiple complaints about a repeat sexual assailant.
Mustang News reporters talked to eight individuals present at the meeting. The individuals asked for anonymity, saying they were concerned that speaking publicly could damage either open investigations or their relationship with their sorority.
In a recent interview, Samaniego said the Safer office received a request from KKG leadership to address sorority members at the meeting because “several of their members had been affected.”
KKG President Julie DeVries declined to comment.
Samaniego discouraged those present at the meeting from naming the alleged assailant, saying that doing so could interfere with investigations. Instead, she said they should speak to professionals on campus, such as University Police Department (UPD), the Office of Equal Opportunity and Safer.
Safer is Cal Poly’s on-campus, confidential sexual violence resource center. It provides students with tools for addressing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence and stalking through education, advocacy and support.
In the interview, Samaniego said her office had received “troubling patterns” regarding an individual.
“When you have a number like this, it’s troubling to me as a person,” Samaniego said.
Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Gamma Delta and Alpha Epsilon Phi said Safer did not address their chapters spring quarter regarding a repeat sexual assailant. Alpha Phi, Sigma Kappa, Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Omicron Pi declined to comment.
UPD Deputy Chief Brenda Trobaugh said UPD is not aware of any individual that poses a threat to campus. She declined to comment on any ongoing investigations.
San Luis Obispo Police Department Sgt. Chad Pfarr said he knew of “a couple” different sexual assault cases involving Cal Poly students. Pfarr declined to comment on any specific investigations.
Title IX investigations are different from criminal investigations. For example, they can’t result in criminal convictions and do not require the same procedural protections and legal standards.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “a school has a duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably and to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, free from sexual harassment and sexual violence.”
The CSU’s Title IX investigation process can take up to 120 days to complete.
If the alleged conduct is found to have occurred, sanctions can be placed on the perpetrator. These sanctions that are directly related to the complainant “include, but are not limited to, requiring that the perpetrator stay away from the complainant until both parties graduate, prohibiting the perpetrator from attending school for a period of time, or transferring the perpetrator to another residence hall, other classes, or another school.”
On Sept. 22, U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) rescinded guidance on how schools should handle sexual assault under Title IX federal law. The revoked guidance includes two documents: the “Dear Colleagues Letter” issued in 2011 and “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” issued in 2014.
As of Jan. 25, 2017, there were 225 postsecondary institutions under investigation by the OCR for issues relating to Title IX campus sexual violence, including Cal Poly. There are 306 sexual violence cases under investigation, according to a list compiled by the OCR for the U.S. Department of Education. Cal Poly has one case under investigation that began in December 2015 and the case is currently ongoing, according to university spokesperson Matt Lazier.