By Cynthia Haro, Feb. 7, 2023
In a viral TikTok video released on Dec. 1, 2022, former music student Kira Bravo accused Cal Poly Pomona of being a school that “supports rapists,” claiming that the Title IX department prematurely closed their sexual assault case. Bravo, whose pronouns are they/them, alleges that the department failed to provide them with the necessary advocacy they were promised and resisted Bravo’s efforts to continue with an investigation.
The video now stands at over 800,000 views and over 100,000 likes. Amassing thousands of shares in the weeks following its release, the TikTok stirred conversation surrounding the competence of CPP’s Office of Equity and Compliance, both in the comment section and on campus.
In interviews with The Poly Post, Bravo claimed that they were pressured to agree to an “informal resolution” of their case – without a full investigation or court hearing – and that the case was closed while they were unable to respond due to an unrelated hospitalization. They also filed a complaint against a UPD officer who initially took their report, accusing the officer of demonstrating a bias toward Bravo’s alleged assailant.
On Dec. 5, 2022, four days after Bravo released their video, the Office of the President sent out an email with the subject reading, “We do not tolerate sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment or retaliation.”
OEC and Survivor Advocacy Services staff members, including those who worked on Bravo’s case, declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws. Speaking generally about such cases, Title IX coordinator Dawnita Franklin explained that a lack of involvement from the complainant is seen as ground for a case closure, but that there is no statute of limitations.
“There’s really not a timeframe because we can open up a case or reopen a case at any point,” Franklin said.
Bravo claimed that they were sexually assaulted by their former boyfriend with whom they had been in a relationship for two months prior to the incident. He did not reply to The Poly Post’s request for comment on the allegations.
The alleged assault occurred on Dec. 3, 2021, and within three days of the assault, Bravo said they booked a one-way ticket to New York City without telling anyone out of fear for their safety.
“I didn’t want anyone to know, I especially didn’t want him to know where I was at,” Bravo said.
Bravo said their parents filed a missing person’s report, and UPD officer called Bravo, who informed the officer about the alleged sexual assault.
Bravo described feeling pressured and rushed by the officer but agreed to file a report despite being told that it wasn’t normal to open a case without the complainant present on campus.
“She said that she would do it for me and said I would be assigned a Title IX case worker, said I had these rights and emailed them to me, said that the DA would be involved and a detective would contact me,” said Bravo. “None of those things happened at all. None of the processes were explained to me, like how these things work.”
Bravo said they were frustrated that it did not appear the officer believed them about what drugs they said they took the night of the alleged assault — a marijuana edible.
In a summary from Bravo’s case interview with Franklin, Franklin reported that Bravo felt “the officer was pushing Respondent’s narrative” by asking questions such as “Why did you say you took two edibles when you took three Xanax?” were asked.
Bravo would later go on to file a complaint about the officer with the head of Title IX, records show.
OEC issued a no-contact order on Dec. 16, 2021, and sent it to both parties with the condition that if either party broke it, they would be placed on probation and then potentially expelled from the university.
In an email sent on Sept. 30, 2022, Franklin notified Bravo of a notice of no appeal and case closure. Bravo said they had last spoken with Title IX on June 21, 2022, over a Zoom meeting. The meeting was set up to discuss the possibility of the district attorney conducting an investigation should the evidence Bravo provided be deemed sufficient.
Bravo explained that during the time in which the Title IX office sent out a notice of no appeal and case closure, they were in a psychiatric hospital concerned for their mental well-being; they were unaware that their case could be closed and were unable to respond.
Bravo’s initial statement was taken three months following the date of the initial complaint, months after having already been assigned a case manager to assist them. Per Bravo’s request, both CPP employees assigned to manage the case were replaced as Bravo felt there was a lack of support and advocacy displayed.
Bravo described their experience working with Title IX as hostile and dismissive, claiming that “no one seemed like they knew what was going on.”
Bravo said that in email exchanges with their assigned Title IX advocate, Bravo often felt rushed while their alleged abuser was given flexibility to respond.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve been to this Title IX office just waiting there for hours just trying to talk to someone,” said Bravo.
The Title IX office provided Bravo with an academic support letter that would excuse them from their classes should they need it. Records show the letter was not given to them until March 4, 2022, two months before graduation.
“I didn’t know that I had to tell my professors that I got sexually assaulted and I can’t come to class because I’m so traumatized,” Bravo said.
Bravo explained that during the time of the complaint they were offered two approaches, a formal or informal resolution. Despite asking several times to be given a formal resolution, which allows for further investigation and a potential court hearing, Bravo explained that they were encouraged to choose an informal resolution. Through an informal resolution, Bravo would have to come to an agreement with the other parties involved and was allegedly told their case would not be reflected in the annual security report released by the school.
“We never want to make a decision for students, or staff, so we always try to provide them with enough information to make an informed decision,” Franklin explained, referring generally to the Title IX policies and not Bravo’s case specifically. “So no, we don’t make a decision or suggest anything right because that’s an important undertaking for anyone.”
When the informal resolution was first proposed, Bravo expressed they were open to the possibility of it in hopes that the respondent would be placed on probation or removed entirely from the academic department they were both a part of.
“They told me that the crime wasn’t egregious enough and the crime wasn’t that bad for him to be put on probation,” said Bravo. “They basically told me that it’s pretty much over with and they kept urging me not to do the formal complaint — I kept asking them what’s the status with the DA and they couldn’t give me an answer.”
At this point it was the end of March 2022, Bravo was unhappy with their case management and refused to move forward with the informal resolution.
Bravo expressed feeling a lack of safety on campus knowing that the only repercussions the respondent had received were not being able to remain in contact. When it came time to walking at graduation, Bravo was informed via the Title IX office that their alleged assailant would also be in attendance. They decided against attending graduation. Despite being given the opportunity to attend the ceremony, Bravo did not complete their final year at CPP.
Bravo said they are continuing to push for an investigation on their case outside of the school in hopes of receiving closure.
“He’s living a normal life while I have to live with a lot of trauma, a lot of therapy,” Bravo said of their alleged assailant. “I had to find all of this by myself, I was fighting so much for just me and people taking me seriously.”
Feature image by Darren Loo
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