Ex-CSU chancellor failed to handle allegations against friend at Fresno State, probe finds

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A long-anticipated investigative report by California State University into sexual misconduct and workforce bullying accusations against a former top administrator at Fresno State faulted the former campus president who later became CSU chancellor with failing to aggressively address the matter, which allowed the alleged misconduct to continue.

Former CSU Chancellor and Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro had a “blind spot” toward his friend Frank Lamas, who was hired as a campus vice president overseeing student life and later was accused in nine reports of sexual harassment, bullying and workplace retaliation from 2014 to 2019, according to the findings of the report released Thursday.

Castro’s “failure to more rigorously address reports of Lamas’ alleged misconduct as they surfaced was a notable factor that negatively impacted the effectiveness of the Campus’ responses,” said the 10-page report by an outside law firm, which previously investigated Lamas after one of his former employees alleged in a formal 2019 complaint that he had touched her inappropriately. Previous complaints against Lamas had been informal or anonymous.

Lamas left the university with a $260,000 payout and a strong letter of recommendation from Castro as part a settlement that was negotiated with the assistance of a retired judge and authorized by the CSU chancellor at the time.

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