SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Colleges in California have a responsibility to protect students from foreseeable acts of violence in the classroom and other settings connected to their studies and can be held liable for failing to do so, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a lawsuit by a UCLA student who was stabbed by a classmate.
College campuses are communities where many students are living on their own for the first time, Associate Justice Carol Corrigan wrote for the majority. Colleges have mental health counselors, campus police and resident advisers, impose rules and can monitor and discipline students, she added.
"Students are comparatively vulnerable and dependent on their colleges for a safe environment," she wrote. "Colleges have a superior ability to provide that safety with respect to activities they sponsor or facilities they control."
Corrigan said the duty to protect students, however, did not extend to student behavior off campus or while involved in social activities unrelated to school.
The decision came in a lawsuit against the University of California regents and several UCLA employees by student Katherine Rosen, who was stabbed by a classmate in 2009 during a chemistry class. Rosen said school officials failed to warn students that her attacker, then-20-year-old Damon Thompson, was potentially violent despite months of reports about his paranoid and threatening behavior.
Thompson acknowledged the attack, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital.
The state Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower-court decision and allowed Rosen's lawsuit to move forward.
A spokeswoman for the University of California referred comment to UCLA. The Los Angeles school said in a statement that it sympathized with Rosen and her family but was concerned about the decision's "potential impact on higher education in California and beyond."
"Student safety remains a top priority for UCLA," the school said. "The university is committed to providing an environment that is conducive to learning and that provides appropriate resources to support our students in need."
Corrigan rejected arguments by UCLA that making colleges responsible for protecting students would be expensive and impractical and would discourage schools from offering mental health and crisis management services. UCLA also raised concerns that students would refrain from speaking openly to mental health counselors.
Associate Justice Ming Chin agreed with the majority's decision to reinstate Rosen's lawsuit but said the court was wrong to extend schools' safety responsibilities beyond the classroom to other study-related activities.
Chin said the opinion was likely to create confusion because there was no guidance on what other activities qualify.
The president of the La Mesa – Spring Valley School District Board on Tuesday faced calls to resign over a post on his personal Facebook page.
On Tuesday night, the voice of the San Diego Padres, Ted Leitner, returned to the radio booth just weeks after a cancer scare.
Throughout the nation Tuesday, the collective protest against the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the border reached fever pitch.
Despite community backlash, on Tuesday the San Diego Unified School District voted 4 to 1 to approve a new 300,000 square-foot housing project in Scripps Ranch that will replace a charter school and provide affordable housing units, a community garden and retail space.
Carlsbad's Ron Capps entered the funny car winner's circle on Friday for the the first time this season. Only being his first win is somewhat of a surprise as Capps had eight wins last season and won the NHRA funny car championship the year before.
Sentencing was held Tuesday for a man for his part in the attempted kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl from in front of her Encinitas home. Christopher White pleaded guilty to being an accessory to kidnapping.
A San Diego man ended up with an eight-ton problem in his driveway for a month. A 20-yard dumpster filled with dirt has been sitting in front of his house because it's too heavy for the company he rented it from to haul it away.
A Serra Mesa man who says people look "unhappy" when they drive to work decided to do something about it - for three decades.
Swimming robots, including giant robotic manta rays and sharks, are taking center tank at the Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai.