UPDATE: April 23, 9:50 p.m.: Student organizers and representatives from BAMN, The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, staged a peaceful protest in front of building 61 at 3.p.m. in support of Aarefah Mosavi and to inform the college community about the alleged cover-up by the Mt.SAC administration.
Students were gathered between buildings 60 and 61, in the stairwells, in classrooms and in the MARC while BAMN representative, Hoku Jeffrey, led the demonstration. Jeffrey shared Mosavi’s story with the crowd for people who were not familiar with the allegations of sexual assault against Chester Brown.
He then listed their demands, which included the removal of Chester Brown, for Mt. SAC to stop the alleged cover-up and for Mt. SAC to fire President Bill Scroggins, Director of Equal Employment Opportunity Lorraine Jones and Vice President of Human Resources James Czaja. A vote was taken on whether or not everyone agreed on the demands. In a nearly unanimous decision, demonstrators agreed to support the demands.
The demonstrators then marched across campus while holding signs and chanting phrases such as, “Mt. SAC rapist, Chester Brown. Get off the campus and out of town,” “Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! President Scroggins has got to go,” and “Sexual assault must be stopped. Expel the rapist, and the cover-up.”
They then returned to building 61, where they entered first the MARC and then the T-MARC. In the T-MARC Rene Pyle, director of tutoring, grabbed staff photographer Pablo Unzueta’s, camera. She attempted to break the camera and told Unzueta, “You’re not allowed in here.” Unzueta informed her that he is a member of the student press and showed his press pass to which she said, “I don’t give a fuck.”
Protestors then moved back outside and held an open mic for anyone to share their voice. After roughly a half hour of open discussion and comments, there was an active dispute between students regarding the allegations against Brown.
Organizers announced that another demonstration would take place Thurs., April 30 at 3 p.m. in front of building 61. They encouraged demonstraters to return to continue to support Mosavi and the demands agreed upon at the beginning of the rally.
UPDATE Wed., April 22 7:36 p.m.: SAC-Media reached out to the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), in an effort to interview Aarefah Mosavi. Ronald Cruz, an attorney and organizer with BAMN, responded to SAC.Media that Mosavi is currently not speaking to the press, but that policy will change in the near future. Yvette Felarca, an organizer with BAMN, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on April 21 that the advocacy group’s attorneys are representing Mosavi and plan to file a complaint within days.
According to the “Feedback Campaign Against Chester Brown and Mt. SAC” Facebook page, a protest in front of the Transfer-Math Activities Resource Center, T-MARC building 61, is scheduled for tomorrow at 3 p.m.
At the time of this update, Chester Brown’s Facebook page has been deactivated.
UPDATE Tues, April 21: In response to the allegations of sexual assault made by former student Aarefah Mosavi against current student Chester Brown, Mt. SAC issued today the following statement on its Facebook page:
A Facebook page titled “Feedback Campaign Against Chester Brown and Mt. SAC” has been set up and states: “This is a campaign to win justice for Aarefah Mosavi by demanding that Chester Brown be fired and permanently removed from the Mt. San Antonio Community College campus.”
The Facebook page gives information about a protest to be held on Thursday: “A non violent protest will be held on Thursday the 23rd at 3- 5 pm in front of the TMARC demanding for the removal of Chester Brown from Mt. SAC.”
On the page, people who appear to be students and supporters of Mosavi, are accusing Mt. SAC officials of not conducting an investigation. The organizer, Kazmi Syedah, posted in response to Mt. SAC’s statement that the case was thoroughly investigated: “This is not true, they never interviewed the individuals Aarefah wanted them to interview, but they interviewed his TMARC math tutor friends. This is not just.”
Syehad added in another post that, “Many of Chester’s friends who are math tutors at the TMARC were complicit in defending Chester’s actions. The head supervisor, Rene Pyle, defended him.”
UPDATE Tues., April 21, 3:25 p.m.: Mt. San Antonio College President Dr. Bill Scroggins was contacted by sac.media and said that because the situation is currently undergoing investigation he cannot comment. Lorraine Jones and James Czaja also declined to comment, however they are currently in talks with public safety and public relations and will be releasing a statement later this afternoon.
Aarefah Mosavi, a peace and conflict studies major at University of California, Berkeley, spoke in front of a public tribunal held by The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, otherwise known as BAMN.
A video was released yesterday on YouTube that accuses the Mt. San Antonio College administration of covering up a rape incident. Aarefah Mosavi, the alleged victim, said in the video, “On the night of Dec. 12, 2013,
I was sexually assaulted on campus of Mt. San Antonio College.”
Mosavi accuses Chester Brown, a current Mt. San Antonio College honor student and math tutor, of raping her.
“This was an individual who I considered a friend, but he raped me.”
In the video, Mosavi said that both she and Brown went to the campus farm to see animals. “As we were getting ready to leave the farm, Brown suddenly turned to me and repeatedly asked me to take off my hijab, to which I consistently refused and expressed that he was making me uncomfortable. This was not the first time he was fixated on my hijab and wanted to see me without it on. When we first started working together, he had made comments like ‘I can see your neck, and I’m going to look at it’ and he even called me a fake Muslim because of the fact that my flesh was visible.”
The next day, Mosavi confronted Brown about it at work and demanded that he stop making the suggestive comments because they made her feel uncomfortable. “He apologized and claimed he was joking, but he still brought it up periodically,” Mosavi said.
It was at the farm that things escalated. Mosavi said that Brown assaulted her. According to Mosavi, Brown grabbed her by her arm.
“It was dark and there were no other people present, he then grabbed my arm against my will and pulled me against him. I was frozen and terrified. At this point, he started to grope my back, my hips and buttocks. I tried to pull away, but he would not let me go. I continuously told him, ‘I don’t want this, I just want to go home.’”
Mosavi also alleges that after this, Brown pinned her against a wall and sexually assaulted her.
“No one was around and it was very dark. I was terrified as Brown continued to sexually assault me. He forced his hands under my shirt, groping my bare stomach, then forcing his hands under my bra and groped my breasts. He then continued to grope my stomach, sides and lower back. While he was doing this, he also was grinding his body against me in a rough manner.”
She goes on to describe digital penetration. After the alleged incident, Mosavi said she went through the proper channels of reporting the incident, and even spoke to various Mt. SAC officials.
“For six months I went through the administration’s procedures in hopes that they would punish [Brown] for raping me,” she said.
Mosavi said she met with various administrators and police officers including Dr. Bill Scroggins, president of Mt. SAC, Lorraine Jones, director of equal employment opportunity, James Czaja, vice president of human resources, and Joseph Carl, director of public safety.
Mosavi further alleges that at one meeting with Jones, she was asked to simulate the alleged assault by Brown. “During one of the meetings Lorraine Jones told me to simulate the rape in front of her and the scribe who was in the meeting. I described the assault that took place but I was unable to go through with simulating the actual rape. I fail to see why this would have been asked of me or the scribe if the administration used the fact that I did not go through with the simulation to further justify exonerating [Brown].”
In the video, Mosavi said that she is now taking action against Mt. SAC.
“The admin repeatedly asked me throughout the investigation when I was transferring in hopes that this issue too would disappear from the campus. They have been mistaken. I’m taking legal action against the Mt. San Antonio College administration as well as Chester Brown.”
Mosavi transferred from Mt. SAC to Cal State Berkeley in the fall of 2014.
For continous coverage go to @SACOnScene