UC student regent Jesse Cheng announced on Monday that he has resigned and will be replaced by student regent designate Alfredo Mireles.
Cheng, a senior at UC Irvine (UCI), has been the focus of media attention after being accused of sexual battery earlier this year by an ex-girlfriend. While the Orange County District Attorney’s office rejected the case due to a lack of “corroborating evidence,” Cheng was found guilty of “unwanted touching” by the UCI Student Conduct Office on March 10.
Around 20 protesters rallied for Cheng to resign at the March 16 regents’ meeting in San Francisco. Cheng did not attend the meeting in the hopes of discouraging such protests.
In a statement made on Monday, UC Board of Regents chairman Russell Gould said Cheng resigned for “personal reasons,” and made no mention of the Conduct Office’s verdict.
Cheng has maintained his innocence since his arrest on Nov. 4, and has said his decision to step down was not due to his conviction. In open letter posted to the UC student regent blog, Cheng called the case a distraction from other serious student issues, and said his decision was made with the best interests of students in mind.
“I am stepping down now because I think it is the right decision… for the student movement to move forward without distraction,” Cheng said.