California · Education

Following Castro ouster, CSU system launches probe into Fresno State harassment complaints

The California State University Chancellor’s Office announced Tuesday that it had launched an independent investigation at the request of the system’s trustees into how Fresno State University officials handled sexual harassment reports between 2014 and 2019.

During that time, Frank Lamas, former Fresno State vice president for student affairs, was accused of sexual harassment “at least a dozen” times, according to a Gannett investigative story published last month. Former CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro served as Fresno State president at the time and failed to take disciplinary action, according to the report. Castro resigned as CSU chancellor last month following the Gannett report.

“It is important that we understand how campus leaders at Fresno State responded to workplace concerns about Frank Lamas,” said Lillian Kimbell, chair of the CSU board of trustees. “We will investigate the past to reveal potential new facts, learn and take appropriate action.”

The 23-campus system, which is the largest in the country, has hired the San Francisco-based Cozen O’Connor law firm to review Title IX practices and support systems at each campus. That assessment will begin in March at Fresno State.

Acting CSU Chancellor Steve Relyea said the system wants to “fortify our commitment to be leaders of Title IX innovation and response.”

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.