By Nanette Asimov, Updated 9:31 pm, Thursday, November 3, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle
Comments by a University of California regent who told an actress at his media company that he wanted to hold her breasts were “inappropriate and highly offensive” but do not break current UC rules, the regents chairwoman said Thursday.
“We take the allegations of sexual harassment against Regent Norman Pattiz very seriously,” Chairwoman Monica Lozano said in a statement the day after newspapers, including The Chronicle, reported that Pattiz’s comments had been recorded by a Los Angeles actress and included in her Oct. 26 podcast.
The actress, Heather McDonald, said she quit broadcasting her podcast through Pattiz’s company this summer after he made the comments but had to hire a lawyer to force Pattiz to release her subscriber list. She said Pattiz made other sexually harassing comments as well, about her appearance or about joining her in the restroom, when she visited the recording studio.
Pattiz did not respond to several requests for comment.
UC prohibits sexual harassment throughout the university — a policy approved by the regents — and requires regents to “comply with all applicable laws, regulations and university policies.”
Yet Lozano said in her statement that UC policies don’t apply to regents when they aren’t on university business. “But I intend to bring forward new policies that will remedy this,” she said.
The regents are also barred from “seeking loopholes” to avoid compliance.
McDonald said she was not surprised by the regents’ tepid response. Pattiz “has gotten away with so much for so long. Everyone’s terrified of Norm and his money,” she said. She forwarded an Oct. 28 email her friend had sent to many regents and Gov. Jerry Brown, who recently re-appointed Pattiz to a 12-year term. It indicated they knew about the problem but did nothing until it became public in the press.
Some students said they were so angered at Pattiz’s behavior that they want him removed from the Board of Regents.
“If they’re not taking it seriously at at the highest level, how can we expect them to take it seriously anywhere else?” asked Cory Hernandez, a UC Berkeley law student who serves on the chancellor’s Committee on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. He has asked the Graduate Assembly on campus to pass a resolution calling for Pattiz’s removal and for support of McDonald “and other victims who are so far unnamed.”
UC President Janet Napolitano has been strengthening sexual harassment policies and cracking down on discipline of offenders this year as increasing numbers of students and employees have spoken out about faculty and staff touching them inappropriately or making sexually harassing comments.
In January, the regents revoked the tenure of a UC Riverside professor who had violated UC policies on sexual harassment and drug use, only the eighth time in UC’s 148-year history that the regents have done so.
Four months later, Pattiz would approach McDonald in his studio as she recorded a brassiere ad. When she stumbled on her words and told him his presence made her nervous, Pattiz asked her if it would help if he held her breasts.
McDonald took her podcast to another company.
|(as are we)|
You'll be shocked to know that no word of this affair, despite the many news sources covering it (see prior posts on this blog), has appeared in UCOP News Clips.