A lawyer for the Sonoma State student asked to remove a cross necklace during a university event said his client's complaint has been completely resolved.
"The university took it seriously and took appropriate action," said Hiram Sasser, the attorney representing Audrey Jarvis, who was asked by a supervisor at a student orientation event on June 27 to remove or conceal her cross necklace to avoid offending would-be students.
After a brief investigation by university officials, President Ruben Armi?na sent a letter to Jarvis in late July reiterating his earlier apology for the incident.
"This was a request made in error by one of our employees, was unacceptable, and was just wrong," he wrote. "The employee did not speak for Sonoma State University in any way."
The supervisor, identified by Sasser as Erik Dickson, executive director of Associated Students, the student government, will meet with Jarvis to apologize in person.
"That resolves this as far as we're concerned," Sasser said.
Dickson did not return a call and email requesting comment.
Jarvis, 19, and Sasser met with university officials in early July. Officials apologized to her and confirmed that there is no university policy restricting what kind of clothing or jewelry students may wear on campus.
They also agreed to investigate the incident as a possible case of religious discrimination under Title IX, the portion of federal education law that bans such discrimination. The university's Title IX coordinator, Joyce Suzuki, said this week that she has concluded her investigation, but she declined to reveal her findings or say whether she recommended any discipline against Dickson.
Dickson is not employed directly by the university, but rather by Associated Students, which is an independent organization.
After the meeting in July, Jarvis said she was not sure whether she would return to Sonoma State for her junior year. In his letter, Armi?na expressed hope that she would decide to do so.
Sasser said he has not discussed the matter with Jarvis since then. She did not respond this week to a request for comment.
The incident began when Jarvis was working at an Associated Student table at the student orientation event. Although she has not publicly revealed his name, she said that Dickson approached her and said that her necklace, featuring a large gold cross, might be off putting to students interested in joining the organization and he asked her to hide it or take it off.
Jarvis, a devout Catholic, expressed shock at the request and left the event early. She was later contacted by Sasser, director of litigation for the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. He apparently heard about the incident indirectly through friends of the family.
A reporter for Fox News also heard about the incident and contacted Jarvis. Her on-air interview made headlines as far away as Europe.
The university quickly apologized and disavowed Dickson's request. After the July meeting, Javis said she had been satisfied by the university's response and that she had no interest in suing over the matter.
(You can reach Staff Writer Sean Scully at 521-5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)