James knew Becky. They had been classmates in a drama class, and, very briefly, friends. On the evening of October 20, 2017, they had met up with some other friends to play music. Eventually finding themselves alone in Becky’s dorm room, they kissed for a few minutes—and engaged in some light sexual touching—before other students interrupted them.
In James’s view, the encounter had not only been fully consensual, it was also mutual: Becky bore just as much responsibility for initiating it as James. And, as Becky would later make clear to the investigator, she had also touched him sexually—she explicitly described her own actions in her official statement.
“[Becky’s] account of the incident as set forth in the summary of her investigative interviews does not, on its face, allege any ‘act of Prohibited Conduct,'” James’s attorney wrote in an April 11 letter to Wendi Delmendo, UC-Davis’s Title IX coordinator. “Even if everything [Becky] alleges is true, my client clearly did nothing wrong and did not engage in Prohibited Conduct.”
And yet the investigation continued until May 1—at which point the Office of Student and Judiciary Affairs finally concluded that James was innocent. Even so, Becky was afforded the opportunity to appeal the decision, consistent with university policy as dictated by the Obama administration’s Education Department, which had obligated college administrators to give accusers the option of appealing adverse findings if they granted this right to the accused.