BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – Officials at the University of California, Berkeley have refused to readmit a student who was expelled after a classmate accused him of rape, even though he was not charged or convicted of a crime.
Protesters erupted in cheers as the decision was announced Wednesday night.
Sophomore Stephanie Garcia is the student who accused him of rape.
“I definitely fought hard for my voice to be heard. I won, I made my statements clear and at the end of the day I told the truth,” Garcia said.
But the decision was not as clear-cut as Garcia had hoped it would be.
Her lawyer said the board found that Garcia’s alleged rapist violated sections of the student code of conduct.
“They concluded that on the basis that she was a minor,” said attorney Shanta Driver.
Not on the basis that she was raped, but because she was 17 at the time.
The District Attorney’s office has declined to press charges, a fact that did not stop protesters from plastering the man’s face on posters emblazoned with the word “rapist.”
“When the students are out claiming ‘He’s a rapist,’ what they’re saying is this panel by a preponderance of the evidence found that he was,” said KPIX 5 legal analyst and LaDoris Cordell. “It’s a far lower standard than in the criminal system.”
Cordell said a prosecutor would only press charges if they could prove the assault happened beyond reasonable doubt.
“They don’t go down that road unless they really feel they have a strong enough case,” Cordell said.
Garcia and her attorneys plan to hand over the board’s findings to the DA to see if criminal charges can be pursued.