Credit: California State University | Courtesy

On Tuesday, a CSU press release announced the launch of an independent and external investigation starting in March on how Fresno State administrators handled sexual harassment complaints about former Fresno State Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Frank Lamas. 

“It is important that we understand how campus leaders at Fresno State responded to the workplace concerns about Dr. Frank Lamas,” CSU Board of Trustees Chair Lillian Kimbell said in the press release. 

Last month, a USA Today report revealed former CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro’s mishandling of sexual harassment complaints — particularly about how Castro sent off Lamas with $260,000 and a letter of recommendation. 

The California Faculty Association (CFA) called for an investigation when the USA Today report was released. 

“While the human cost of Lamas’s horrific conduct at Fresno State is impossible to assess, we do demand a complete accounting of what Lamas cost this university,” the CFA Fresno chapter open letter said. “These are only the financial costs, and do not address the social, psychological, and emotional costs inflicted upon the victims of his behavior.”

Shortly after the release of the report, Castro stepped down from the chancellor position

From the Cozen O’Connor law firm, the institutional response group Chair Gina Maisto Smith and Vice-Chair Leslie Gomez will be leading a systemwide assessment reviewing CSU Title IX practices. 

The assessment strives to “advance CSU’s Title IX and other civil rights training, awareness, prevention, intervention, compliance, accountability, and support systems.” 

“The CSU is initiating a Title IX assessment across the nation’s largest public four-year higher education system to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” acting CSU Chancellor Steve Relyea said.  “We will continue to fortify our commitment to being leaders of Title IX innovation and response.”

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