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CSU Takes Action to Strengthen Title IX Procedures and Reform Retreat Rights


CSU to Launch Fresno State Investigation, Systemwide Title IX Assessment and Reform of Retreat Right Policies


​​​​​The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has requested that the CSU Chancellor's Office commission an independent and external investigation to review how Fresno State administrators responded to reports received between 2014 and 2019 of sexual harassment by 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," stated CSU Board of Trustees Chair Lillian Kimbell. “We will investigate the past to reveal potential new facts, learn and take appropriate action."

Trustee Chair Kimbell added, “The CSU has hired the law firm Cozen O'Connor to review our campuses' Title IX practices, trainings, services, and s​upport systems through a systemwide assessment."

The Chancellor's Office has engaged Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez, the chair and vice chair of the Institutional Response Group at Cozen O'Connor. Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez will lead this comprehensive Title IX systemwide assessment.

“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," stated acting CSU Chancellor Steve Relyea. “We will continue to fortify our commitment to be leaders of Title IX innovation and response."

The goal of the systemwide assessment is to provide insights, recommendations, and resources to help advance CSU's Title IX and other civil rights training, awareness, prevention, intervention, compliance, accountability, and support systems.

The assessment will begin in March at the Fresno State University campus.

The CSU has also revised its practices relating to the ability of an administrator to retreat to a faculty position. The CSU Chancellor's Office is preparing to issue a policy that will bring systemwide consistency to a process that has historically been addressed individually by each of the CSU's 23 campuses.

The opportunity to retreat is frequently offered to faculty who are required to relinquish tenure to become a university administrator. The policy gives the administrator the option to return to a faculty position when their administrative role at the university comes to an end. 

“Retreat rights are very important and valuable to our community," stated acting Chancellor Relyea. “That opportunity to retreat should be extended to individuals in good standing with the CSU, not to individuals who have engaged in significant misconduct. The policy needs systemwide clarity, consistency, and modernization, thus we are reforming it."

The new systemwide policy will prohibit an administrator's return to the faculty under certain circumstances, such as when the administrator has been found to have engaged in sexual harassment or other significant misconduct.

​The safety and well-being of our campus communities continues to be the highest priority for the CSU. Reports, concerns or questions about sexual harassment or other sexual discrimination should be directed to a campus Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Systemwide TIX Compliance.​

Contact information is accessible here, and here:  (CSU campus credentials required).

​Reports, concerns or questions about Dr. Lamas's conduct while he was employed at Fresno State should be directed to Jamie Pontius-Hogan, Director of Title IX and Clery Compliance at [email protected] or (559) 278-5357.  

About the California State University

The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 477,000 students and 56,000 faculty and staff. Nearly 40 percent of the CSU's undergraduate students transfer from California Community Colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 132,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.