Letter to the Editor

I’m writing this statement to respond to a number of accusations made about me in various media outlets in the last week. Initially I did not feel it was appropriate to comment because I was trying to defend the interests and privacy of all of the students involved, including my former partner. I now feel like I have no choice but to explain fully what occurred.

I am innocent of all accusations made. These accusations have been extremely painful for me, especially because I have tried to acknowledge the privileges that I have as a man and support gender equality issues throughout my college career. It is work that is essential to my identity, and I would never engage in behavior that would compromise those values.

My former partner and I were in a committed relationship for almost a year. Near the end of that year, it was clear that the relationship was not working out and I initiated the break up.

Afterward, we agreed to remain friends. We saw each other three times after the relationship ended. All three times we engaged in varying levels of consensual physical contact, none of which was forced or coerced, none of which was intercourse.

The first time she invited me to be her date to a UCLA graduate school event. The next week on Oct. 3, the night that would become the source of the accusations against me, I invited her over for dinner at my apartment in Irvine. That night, although we engaged in kissing, all contact was consensual and we did not have sex. Afterward, we ate dinner at my apartment and watched a movie.

A week after this visit, she called me and accused me of sexually assaulting her the week before. The phone conversation lasted for hours. My reaction during the phone call was that her description of events did not happen. In the following weeks, I would get as many as 50 calls a day from her. The amount of phone calls became extremely stressful and disruptive.

During the time of these phone calls, she requested I meet her personally at her apartment. I visited her apartment two weeks after Oct. 3. During that visit, she initiated and engaged physical intimacy. It was the third time we met after the break up, and a few weeks after the night she had claimed I behaved inappropriately.

The phone calls continued and began to have a serious toll on my well-being. She demanded that I write e-mail apologies to her and specified the exact language that she wanted to see in those e-mails. Exhausted, I sent those e-mails. What I said in those e-mails are not true and did not reflect my behavior, but I thought that by adopting her language and meeting the standards she set, we could both move forward. I regret lying to her in those e-mails and it was a mistake to capitulate just so she would stop calling me incessantly.

On Nov. 4, the police arrested me on campus and took me back to the police department for questioning. We spoke about the relationship, that particular night and the entire situation. Three hours later, the police released me and the DA declined to press any charges.

I know this last week has been extremely difficult for the campus community. It has been difficult for my friends and me. I would ask people to please thoughtfully consider both sides of this story and the entire context of the relationship before jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. I do not know why my former partner has chosen to make these accusations or make them at this time. I loved her very much, and I really wish for her the best in the future.

Jesse Cheng
UC Student Regent
jessec@uci.edu