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Foothill College President Issues Statement Concerning Dominic Caserta Sexual Harassment Allegations

Empty+chairs+in+front+of+KJ%27s+Cafe+at+Foothill+College+and+a+stack+of+newspapers.
Empty chairs in front of KJ's Cafe at Foothill College and a stack of newspapers.

Empty chairs in front of KJ's Cafe at Foothill College and a stack of newspapers.

Kathy Honcharuk

Kathy Honcharuk

Empty chairs in front of KJ's Cafe at Foothill College and a stack of newspapers.

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The following statement from Foothill President Thuy Nguyen was emailed to Script editors by Vanessa Smith, interim director of marketing and public relations for Foothill College, late Friday evening. Smith declined to comment previously about allegations concerning Foothill Instructor Dominic Caserta. Laureen Balducci, the Title IX investigator for Foothill College, also declined to comment. 

Since Thursday, two other individuals have come forward to report the city council member of sexual harassment. A total of four reports have been filed to the Santa Clara Police Department.

Dear Foothill College Community,

Through recent media inquiry, we have been made aware of sexual misconduct allegations by a Foothill student against a part-time instructor.

The college has reached out to the student to offer resources and information regarding student rights and district policies on sexual misconduct.  The college has also taken immediate and appropriate steps to respond to the allegations.

We are in the process of gathering more facts regarding the matter.  It is important in this, as in any case of allegations, that the college has not reached any conclusions regarding the complaint and will refrain from doing so until such time as the review is complete.  As we wish to have a thorough accounting of the matter, if any student or employee has more information, please contact Ms. Pat Hyland at [email protected] or 650.949.6284.

Please keep in mind that state and federal law confers both employees and students with legal rights such as due process and confidentiality.  The district is obligated to follow these laws, as stated in our own policies and procedures.

As a reminder, Foothill College has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct, and student and employee safety are among our highest priorities.  Our district board policy (BP 4640) on sexual misconduct has language that conveys the values of our college: “Members of a college community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors, must be able to study and work in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.  Foothill-De Anza Community College District is actively committed to creating and maintaining an environment which respects the dignity of individuals and groups.”

We encourage students and employees who have experienced sexual misconduct to file a report.  There are several ways to do so: https://foothill.edu/titleix/report-incident.html.  We have on-campus resources, including Psychological Services, for students needing emotional support and maintain a list of off-campus resources on our college website.  The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for employees.

Rest assured that anyone filing a complaint is protected from retaliation or reprisal for filing a complaint.  Our district board policy (BP 4640) specifically states that we seek “to foster an environment in which all employees and students feel free to report incidents of harassment or discrimination without fear of retaliation or reprisal.”

With national attention on sexual misconduct, we are reminded that these allegations can occur closer to home as well.  We have laws and policies already in place to guide us when such allegations occur. In order to ensure a deliberate and fair process for all parties involved, the process takes time and requires the highest level of confidentiality.  I want to assure you that the college takes this and all other allegations of harassment/discrimination seriously.

Sincerely,

Thuy Thi Nguyen

President

Foothill College

 

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Foothill College President Issues Statement Concerning Dominic Caserta Sexual Harassment Allegations