California state chancellor endorses colleague for award despite multiple complaints against him
The chancellor of California State University (CSU), the largest public higher education system in the United States, resigned on Thursday following allegations that he repeatedly refused to sanction a colleague accused of sexual harassment .
Joseph Castro described the decision to resign as “the hardest part of my professional life.
“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. “, Castro said in a statement.
The university has promised to do more to fight gender discrimination and hold its staff accountable.
Castro’s resignation came two weeks after a USA Today investigation found that for years he mishandled sexual harassment complaints while serving as president of CSU Fresno. According to the outlet, at least a dozen complaints were filed against Frank Lamas, the vice president of student affairs, but Castro refused to discipline him, wrote “gratifying performance reviews”, and endorsed him for a lifetime achievement award, which Lamas won.
Complaints said lamas stared at women’s breasts, touched women inappropriately, and made sexist remarks, among other things.
It was reported that in 2020, Castro authorized a $260,000 payment to Lamas, who was allowed to retire with a clean record. On top of that, Castro reportedly wrote a letter of recommendation for him.
Lamas denied any wrongdoing. Castro said earlier this month that while he ultimately banned Lamas from working at CSU, “some aspects of the process should have been handled better.”
Last month, the University of Michigan announced it would pay $490 million to more than 1,000 victims of sexual assaults committed by sports physician Dr. Robert Anderson, who worked at the university between 1966 and 2003. In 2020, the university disclosed that he was investigating multiple abuse allegations against Anderson, who died in 2008. The lawsuits accuse the university of failing to fire him despite multiple complaints.
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