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SB 748 – Trespass At Private Universities
Existing law prohibits students or employees of private K-12 schools who have been suspended or dismissed and certain persons who have been directed to leave a school campus or facility from entering the school campus or facility. Existing law specifies a minimum and maximum term of imprisonment in a county jail for a violation of these provisions and increases those terms for a second or subsequent offense.
Senate Bill 748 (SB 748) expands the provisions prohibiting specified persons from entering school campuses or facilities to independent institutions of higher education. Independent institutions of higher education are defined as nonpublic higher education institutions that grant undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, or both, are formed as California nonprofit corporations and are accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Under SB 748, an employee or student of an independent institution of higher education who has been denied access to the campus or facility and who willfully and knowingly enters the campus or facility without the express written permission of the institution’s President or designee is guilty of a misdemeanor and may either owe a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), be imprisoned in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both, under the following circumstances:
- The student or employee, after a hearing or institutional process, was suspended or dismissed for disrupting the orderly operation of the campus or facility of the institution;
- The student or employee, as a condition of the suspension or dismissal, has been denied access to the campus and/or facility of the institution for the period of the suspension or in the case of dismissal for a period not to exceed one year; and
- The student or employee was served by registered or certified mail, at the last address given by that person, with written notice of the suspension or dismissal and that they have been denied access to the campus and/or facility of the institution.
In addition, whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that the person has willfully disrupted the orderly operation of the campus, SB 748 authorizes the chief administrative officer or designee to notify the person that the institution is withdrawing its consent for the person to remain on campus. If consent is withdrawn by a designee – as opposed to the chief administrative officer – the designee is required to, as soon as is reasonably possible, submit a written report to the chief administrative officer that contains all of the following:
- The description of the person from whom consent was withdrawn, including, if available, the person’s name, address, and phone number.
- A statement of the facts giving rise to the withdrawal of consent.
The chief administrative officer must either confirm or not confirm the designee’s actions based on the written report. Any actions not confirmed within 24 hours are void.
When the chief administrative officer has reason to believe that the presence of the person from whom consent was withdrawn will not constitute a substantial and material threat to the orderly operation of the campus, the chief administrative officer must reinstate consent. Consent may not be withdrawn for longer than 14 days. The person from whom consent was withdrawn may submit a written request for a hearing on the withdrawal within the two-week period. The written request shall state the address to which notice of hearing is to be sent. The chief administrative officer must grant the hearing not later than seven days from the date of receipt of the request and must immediately mail a written notice of the time, place, and date of such hearing to such person. A person who willfully and knowingly enters or remains on the campus during the period for which consent has been withdrawn is guilty of a misdemeanor unless the person is on campus just to apply for reinstatement or attend the withdrawal hearing, and the punishment is a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500), by up to 6 months imprisonment in county jail, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
SB 748 does not affect an independent institution of higher education’s ability to suspend, dismiss, or expel any student or employee.
SB 748 further allows the chief administrative officer to direct a person who is not a student, officer, or employee of the independent institution of higher education to leave the campus or facility whenever reasonably appears to the chief administrative officer that the person is committing any act or entered the campus for the purpose of committing any act likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of the activities of the campus. If that person fails to leave the campus or willfully and knowingly reenters the campus within seven days after being directed to leave, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and the punishment is a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500), by up to six (6) months imprisonment in county jail, or by both that fine and imprisonment. The chief administrative officer must tell the person that if the person reenters the campus within seven days the person will be guilty of a crime. Independent institutions of higher education are prohibited from using SB 748 to impinge upon the lawful exercise of constitutionally protected rights of freedom of speech or assembly.
SB 748 took effect with urgency on July 19, 2022, in order to protect public safety on private campuses.
(SB 748 amends Sections 626, 626.2, 626.4, and 626.6 of the Penal Code.)