UC sets new sexual harassment rules for its governing body

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2016 6:40 PM
UC sets new sexual harassment rules for its governing body

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California has created new guidelines on sexual harassment for its governing board in response to a widely publicized incident last month in which one of its regents was caught on tape asking a female employee if he could hold her breasts.

The regent in question, media mogul Norman J. Pattiz, sat silently and voted in favor of the new standards, which were unanimously approved Thursday during a two-day UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco.

"Pervert!" shouted out one heckler from the public gallery, when Pattiz spoke on an unrelated subject.

Under the new policy, all regents are now required to take the university's training program in sexual harassment prevention, as do employees at UC's 10 campuses.

Regents can also now face sanctions if they violate the university's sexual harassment or ethical conduct codes — in their public as well as private lives.

It was not yet clear if Pattiz could face disciplinary measures retroactively for a violation of the new sexual harassment policy, said UC spokesman Ricardo Vazquez.

Pattiz is the founder of America's largest radio network, Westwood One, and CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group, which produces radio shows and podcasts. In May, he entered a Los Angeles studio where comedian Heather McDonald was taping a podcast commercial for a memory-foam bra.

She flubbed some of her lines, and Pattiz asked: "Can I hold your breasts? Would that help?" and showed his hands, saying, "These are memory foam."

McDonald went public with the recording last month, prompting outrage and calls for the Board of Regents to take action. Pattiz told the Los Angeles Times that he "deeply regrets" the comments.

At the time, the Board of Regents chairwoman Monica Lozano issued a statement calling Pattiz' actions "inappropriate and highly offensive" but said the board's policies did not specifically address the behavior of members while they're not engaged in university business.

"I intend to bring forward new policies that will remedy this," Lozano said in her statement last month, adding that the board could not tolerate behavior that violates the university's ethical policies.

Pattiz was not immediately available for comment, but on Wednesday publicly stated that he had already begun the sexual harassment training program, Vazquez said.