Sexual Assault, ID Fraud Reported at Sun God 2015

0

As of Friday, the UCSD Police Department confirmed that statistics for crime and incidents for Sun God Festival 2015 would be released within the next two weeks, since incidents are still being reported. As of now, one incident of sexual battery and one incident of rape have been confirmed. In addition, the Office of Student Conduct reported 45 cases of students who sold or attempted to sell their UCSD IDs.

Director of Associated Students Concerts and Events Seraphin Raya stated official reports are not yet available because accuracy was emphasized this year. 

“In the past, we have been okay with reporting initial numbers. However, we want to ensure that the numbers we report are all accurate,” Raya said. “For example, that all of the hospitalization numbers are relevant to what we are concerned about and that they are not double counted (i.e. someone that goes to detox and then gets sent to the hospital should only be reported under the hospitalization figure).” 

Although the official statistics are not available, Raya discussed how the number of detox cases increased this year and that the number of overall incidents stayed the same in comparison to past years. In addition, the number of Responsible Action Protocol cases doubled from last year, and approximately 10 percent of students admitted into detox used RAP. 

Raya stated that the focus of the Sun God Task Force is on prevention and not on detox numbers. 

“While our detox numbers rose, the number of students being hospitalized decreased greatly, Raya said. “Our focus on the high-risk intoxications seemed effective.”

Although consumption of alcohol and drugs at the festival can be regulated on site, according to Raya, sexual assault prevention is more precarious.

“For things like alcohol and drugs, we are able to implement means to reduce access and consumption. However, for sexual assault, this is a lot harder. I think continued dialogue, telling folks to treat each other like human beings, is important,” Raya said. “I hope that whoever is in my position next year makes it a priority to work with campus resources to educate students on signs to look out for and what to do when a friend may be going off with a stranger or when they are exposed to unwelcome contact.” 

Regarding the sale and purchase of IDs, Raya commented how this could cause problems for individuals who did not violate policy.

“Giving someone your identity allows them to pose as you to police officers or at detox,” Raya said. “This could result in trouble for someone who might not have done something.”

Students who attempted to buy and sell IDs will be found in violation of community standards sections of the Student Conduct Code, specifically Non-Academic Dishonesty and Misuse of University Identification. Typical sanctions for these violations are exclusion from Sun God Festival 2016, non-academic probation for a year and the completion of the Practical Decision Making Reflection and Assessment.

According to Director of Student Conduct Ben White, the number of incidents was comparatively high to previous years.  

“We typically receive two to three such incidents each year, but this year’s numbers are significantly higher,” White told the UCSD Guardian. “The biggest factor is that we noticed a high number of offers to sell/buy on the UCSD buy-and-sell page while investigating a related incident.”

White stated that these particular incidents were reported to the Office of Student Conduct but that the office does not actively monitor social media to find Student Conduct Code violations.

A.S. Vice President of Student Advocacy Ryan Huyler described how sales that did not go through are still punishable by the Student Conduct Code.

“It is a clear violation, even if they never followed through, as the Code applies to intent to commit as well,” Huyler said. “While I may not agree with the Office of Student Conduct using their time and resources to go after these types of violations, as they are not relatively harm-inducing, it is their choice as an office. I just hope that they are reasonable with the sanctioning of these types of cases.”

Students who are accused of violating policy are able to have their sanctions reviewed, but the burden of proof is significantly lower than in criminal court, according to Huyler.

“Our burden of proof for hearing student conduct cases is a preponderance of the evidence, that it is more likely than not or 51-percent likely you committed the allegation,” Huyler said. “Students should just own up to what they did and receive the punishment unless, of course, the student didn’t do what they said. Then they should most certainly challenge the allegation.” 

Raya believes that the Sun God Festival incidents are part of a greater, widespread problem. 

“The Task Force needs to stop thinking of this event, as the cause of all student misbehavior and focus on how events like Sun God Festival and Deejays & Vinylphiles Club events are symptoms of a greater cultural problem,” Raya said. “It’s time that the Sun God Task Force renames itself to be the Campus Culture Task Force. The people in that group are the most influential members of student affairs on campus and have produced some really great campuswide efforts (e.g. the Floaties Program, the Stay With Me campaign).”

Students are encouraged to report sexual assault incidents at the Sexual Assault Resource Center at (858) 534-5793 and any other incidents to the UCSD Police Department at (858) 534-4357.