CSU principal resigns after reports he mishandled complaints

The head of the California State University system, the largest four-year higher education system in the country, announced Thursday that he is stepping down, effective immediately. Prime Minister Joseph I. Castro, 55, did not give a specific reason for the decision, which came amid allegations that he mishandled sexual harassment complaints against an administrator when he was the dean of Fresno State University.

“I have been honored to serve California State University for more than eight years, including as its eighth chancellor, and the decision to resign was the most difficult of my professional life,” said Dr. Dr. Castro said in a statement.

“While I disagree with many aspects of recent media reports and subsequent commentary, it is clear to me that resignation at this time is necessary so that CSU can maintain its focus. fully focused on its educational mission and influential work has not yet been done. ,” he added.

Dr. Castro seems to be referring to a USA Today’s investigation announced on February 3 said he had repeatedly refused to discipline Frank R. Lamas, the former vice president of student affairs at Fresno State, despite complaints against him for more than six years. related to sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation.

USA Today reported that Dr. Castro was aware of at least seven complaints, but nonetheless gave Dr. Lamas a raise and positive performance reviews, and endorsed him for a lifetime achievement award. The report said that Dr. Lamas reached a $260,000 agreement with the university that barred him from ever working in the CSU system.

On February 3, CSU release a statement quoted Dr. Castro as saying he took the allegations seriously and apologized to “anyone in the Fresno State community who was affected by Dr. Lamas’ conduct.”

“Within four days of a complaint that could be formally investigated, Dr Lamas was removed from the school and never returned,” he said. He added in that statement that “we faced a series of administrative obstacles in implementing the change until we had a formal complaint that could be investigated.”

The university said in an email on Friday that Dr. Castro would not speak to the media.

On Friday, Dr Lamas said in an emailed statement that there had been “anonymous and untrue allegations” against him after he began working at Fresno State on 2014 and that he left the university in 2019, agreeing to mediation.

“I continue to maintain my chastity,” he said.

The California State University Board of Trustees said on Thursday, in early February, they became aware of concerns for the first time about Dr. Castro’s response to the allegations regarding Dr. Lamas. The board of directors “immediately began looking into the matter,” and four days after the USA Today report, it announced that it would hold a closed session on February 17.

That day, Dr. Castro announced that he would resign.

Dr. Castro was appointed principal in September 2020 after serving as the system’s Fresno campus president since 2013. He is the first California native and the first Mexican-American appointed to serve as president of the system. university supervision.

He told The New York Times in an interview upon his appointment, he considered CSU to be “the most important institution in the United States because of the students we serve” who “come from all different backgrounds.”

Education advocates and other leaders said his opinion would reflect that of the students, of which 43% identified as Hispanic or Latinx.

In his resignation statement, Dr. Castro said: “As I know from my own life experience, the diverse and talented young people of our state and nation – especially high-income students Low-income and first-generation – deserve access to the transformative power of higher education. so it often seems like an elusive dream. “

The board said it was developing a plan to replace Dr. Castro, but that the executive vice-chancellor, Steve Relyea, would serve until an interim prime minister could be appointed for the 23-member system. campus, 477,000 students and 56,000 faculty and staff.

It said the trustees intend to pursue steps for a system-wide Title IX review, which prohibits sexism in government-funded education programs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/us/california-state-chancellor-resigns.html CSU principal resigns after reports he mishandled complaints

Fry Electronics Team

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