The Inquirer

Women’s Empowerment club details harassment, DVC inaction

Marisol+Militello%2C+Soha+Ashraf%2C+Silvia+Gathondu+and+Allison+Morgan%2C+left+to+right%2C+from+the+Women%27s+Empowerment+Club+hold+a+press+conference+detailing+their+grievances+about+the+handling+of+alleged+harassment+from+former+student+Gautam+Reddy.+
Marisol Militello, Soha Ashraf, Silvia Gathondu and Allison Morgan, left to right, from the Women's Empowerment Club hold a press conference detailing their grievances about the handling of alleged harassment from former student Gautam Reddy.

Marisol Militello, Soha Ashraf, Silvia Gathondu and Allison Morgan, left to right, from the Women's Empowerment Club hold a press conference detailing their grievances about the handling of alleged harassment from former student Gautam Reddy.

Marisol Militello, Soha Ashraf, Silvia Gathondu and Allison Morgan, left to right, from the Women's Empowerment Club hold a press conference detailing their grievances about the handling of alleged harassment from former student Gautam Reddy.

Isaac Norman and Danny Yoeono

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Fed up with the administration’s lack of action and transparency, members of Diablo Valley College’s Women’s Empowerment club announced they were seeking restraining orders against former student Gautam Reddy.

During their April 11 press conference on the Commons, five members of the Women’s Empowerment club also filed Student Code of Conduct charges against Reddy, saying he violated parts two, six, seven, eight, 14 and 16. Those sections cover lying to administration members, abusive behavior such as verbal harassment, intimidation, stalking, violence or the threat of violence, possession of a deadly weapon on district property and sexual harassment.

On April 25, the Women’s Empowerment club will put on a rally on the Commons from 12p.m to 1 p.m. in conjunction with the radical civil rights advocacy group By Any Means Necessary. 

At various points during a phone interview with the Inquirer, after the press conference, Reddy called himself the victim and said, “These communists are out to get me.” He described himself as an “economic nationalist” and libertarian who opposes “cultural Marxism.”

Three members of the Women’s Empowerment club, Robert Michael Jennings, Allison Morgan and Marisol Militello, cited five instances in 2016 and 2017 in which they accuse Reddy of harassing, intimidating and discriminatory behavior.

According to a written statement by Jennings, in August 2016 he was sitting in a class when Reddy showed him a knife and said he carried it around because he didn’t trust minorities.

Reddy said that is a ridiculous claim because he is a minority, adding he never brought a knife to campus.

Jennings wrote Reddy harassed the Women’s Empowerment club in March 2017, using profanity and repeatedly calling the women “bitches,” after which, “all the members felt extremely unsafe” and that when they saw him on campus, they tried to avoid him. 

Reddy told the Inquirer that he “didn’t even know the Women’s Empowerment club existed” at that time.

Militello said she was sitting at a table by herself in September 2017 when Reddy attempted to talk to her. When she ignored him he, “got violent and grabbed the table, shaking it repeatedly, as he sat across from me. I was terrified, especially since I was blocked into a corner that was obstructed on two sides and he had verbally harassed me and the rest of the Women’s Empowerment members after a meeting the previous semester.”

Reddy denied ever shaking a table.

At a History Club meeting in October 2017, Morgan said, Reddy implied Jewish people played a role in and profited from all conflicts. “He continued to rant about how Jewish people had a tendency to monopolize businesses and that it founded from a place of greed. His rants had the effect of making all the members of the club uncomfortable, Jewish and non-Jewish members alike.”

Reddy said, “No, I was not saying anything anti-Jewish, I am not an anti-semite,” adding, “I’m not a racist or evil person, I’m not a neo-Nazi skinhead. If anyone is dangerous it is the Women’s Empowerment club because they are associated with By Any Means Necessary.”

Members of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) were involved in a 2016 clash with neo-Nazis in Sacramento that resulted in 10 people being hospitalized. Yvette Felarca, who represented BAMN at the press conference, still faces charges related to the incident.

Morgan’s second interaction with Reddy was in November 2017 when Reddy followed her onto a bus saying he recognized her from the Women’s Empowerment club and the History Club.

She said she attempted to terminate the exchange but, “He continued to physically intimidate me and verbally abuse me, towering over me and continuing to yell and harass me with sexist epithets directed at me and other students that I know. Reddy got another male passenger to join him to team up against me and talk about how much they hate women and how women are all ‘bitches’ and ‘liars.’ I was forced to endure this for the 25-minute ride to school, terrified and silenced by Mr. Reddy’s actions.”

Reddy confirmed the interaction on the bus took place but characterized his conversation with Morgan as asking if he could talk to a member of the History Club and asking if they could leave him alone.

Reddy said a former friend who was with him recorded the interaction and this confirmed his side of the story. He declined to share the video with the Inquirer.  

In an April 11 press release, administration confirmed Reddy is not currently enrolled at Diablo Valley College.

When asked if it was his decision to stop attending DVC, Reddy said, “It was kind of mutual between me and the school and was probably the best decision for both sides… It was a well thought out idea and I stand by it,” adding that he left in early March.

At the press conference, the speakers expressed frustration with a lack of communication from police services and administration.

Soho Ashraf said they learned from the press release that Reddy was not currently enrolled. They thought he had been expelled, but were later told in their meeting with President Susan Lamb and Student Life Program manager Todd Farr that all the administration could say was that Reddy was not currently enrolled.

The administration declined to divulge details, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

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About the Writers
Isaac Norman, Online editor
Online editor, fall 2017. Staff member, spring 2017.
Danny Yoeono, Senior staff member
Senior staff member, fall 2017. Staff member, spring 2017.
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Women’s Empowerment club details harassment, DVC inaction