The chancellor of California State University just resigned, the Washington Examiner reported.
According to the outlet, the resignation follows criticism that the chancellor, Joseph Castro, mishandled sexual harassment allegations.
Instrumental in Castro’s resignation is a recent report by USA Today that raised questions about the chancellor’s handling of sexual harassment allegations that have been made against Frank Lamas, the former vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at Fresno State.
The report found that Lamas both was abusive and engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with other employees.
Yet, despite this, the report found that Castro, who was the campus president when this was all happening, chose not to discipline Lamas. In fact, USA Today reports that Castro actually gave Lamas positive performance reviews and approved pay raises.
Lamas, himself, has denied the allegations. He ended up retiring in 2020 after receiving a $260,000 offer from the university and a letter of recommendation from Castro.
This, however, didn’t end the matter.
Castro received a lot of criticism from students, faculty, and even lawmakers for his handling of the Lamas situation. He tried to allay some of this criticism by writing an apology letter to students and faculty.
“Above all, I want to acknowledge the pain suffered by the members of the Fresno State community,” he wrote. “To those who were hurt by Dr. Lamas’ behavior and actions, I am deeply and profoundly sorry.”
The letter, however, did not have its intended effect: the criticism continued as strong as ever, and it culminated in the Academic Senate at Fresno State drafting a declaration of no confidence in Castro, claiming that he hid the Lamas situation during the chancellor hiring process.
It was after this that Castro announced his resignation.
I have been honored to serve the California State University for more than eight years, including as its eighth chancellor, and the decision to resign is the most difficult of my professional life. While I disagree with many aspects of recent media reports and the ensuing commentary, it has become clear to me that resigning at this time is necessary so that the CSU can maintain its focus squarely on its educational mission and the impactful work yet to be done.