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UC student regent faces sexual battery allegation; board chair says no immediate action

March 16, 2011 |  4:18 pm

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

University of California Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould said Wednesday that he would not rush to judgment about whether student regent Jesse Cheng, a fifth-year UC Irvine student, should stay on the board while UC reviews a former girlfriend’s allegation of sexual battery by Cheng.

The Orange County district attorney's office has declined to press charges against Cheng for lack of evidence. But the UC Irvine office of student conduct this month found Cheng responsible for a student code violation for sexual battery, defined as unwanted touching in a sexual manner. Cheng, who maintains his innocence, said he was trying to decide whether to appeal the campus ruling.

As the regents met Wednesday in San Francisco, representatives of feminist groups urged the board to oust Cheng as one of the two student representatives on the panel. Gould said he took the matter “very seriously” and said any appeals would need to be completed and then a regents committee would examine the issue to see if any action should be taken.

Cheng, 22, who is majoring in Asian American studies, did not attend the meeting, saying he did not want his presence to be a distraction. In a telephone interview, he said he has no plans to resign.

For the record, 4:48 p.m. March 16: An earlier version of this post said Cheng was found guilty of the code violation.

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-- Larry Gordon

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