Cal State Chancellor Joseph Castro resigns over sexual misconduct

LOS ANGELES — The chancellor of California State University, the nation’s largest public university system, has resigned after being accused of mishandling sexual misconduct allegations.

Joseph I. Castro resigned Thursday, effective immediately, the CSU Board of Directors said.

In a statement, Castro called it the most difficult decision of his professional life.

Castro came under fire after a USA TODAY investigation released Feb. 3 questioned the handling of misconduct complaints against Frank Lamas, former Fresno State vice president of student affairs, when Castro was president of the university.

The article said Lamas had been the subject of a series of informal complaints, including allegations from 2014 that he touched women inappropriately, made sexist comments, and harassed or retaliated against women. workers.

No action was taken against Lara until a formal complaint was filed in 2019, when he was kicked off campus and later found guilty of violating a harassment policy of the CSU, according to documents cited by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Lara denied the allegations and appealed the finding. He retired in 2020 as part of a settlement agreement. Under the agreement, he received a payment of $260,000 and while he was barred from working at CSU again, Castro agreed to write him a letter of recommendation to help him find work. elsewhere, the documents say.

Joseph I. Castro, then President of Fresno State, waves to the crowd before the team’s NCAA college football game.

The revelations sparked a student protest in Fresno State earlier this month.

Steve Relyea, CSU’s executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, will serve as interim chancellor until an interim chancellor is named, the board said.

Cal State’s system is the nation’s largest four-year public university system with 23 campuses, 477,000 students and 56,000 faculty and staff, according to its website.

Castro, appointed in 2020, was the first Mexican American and California native to lead the CSU system.

“I have been honored to serve California State University for more than eight years, including as eighth chancellor, and the decision to step down is the most difficult of my professional life,” Castro said in a statement. “While I disagree with many aspects of recent media reports and ensuing comments, it has become clear to me that resigning at this time is necessary so that CSU can continue to focus on its educational mission and the impactful work that remains to be done. .”

New York Post

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