An investigation by California State University, Fresno, found that the now president of the Academic Senate at Fresno City College committed an “act of sexual violence” against a Fresno State professor, EdSource reported.
The allegations against Tom Boroujeni, a communications instructor, became public after Fresno State launched a Title IX investigation in 2020 looking into the assault, which allegedly took place in 2015. The investigation found that Boroujeni, who was then a master’s student at Fresno State and part-time instructor at the university and Fresno City College, “pinned down” the Fresno State professor after she declined to have sex with him at her apartment while they were dating. Boroujeni claims the sex was consensual.
He filed a retroactive complaint in 2020, before the investigation, claiming the woman, who taught an undergraduate course that he took, coerced him into a romantic relationship with “unwanted advances” and he feared rejecting her would put his graduate studies and job prospects at risk, according to EdSource. The harassment complaint was deemed unfounded and led the investigator to learn of the alleged assault and seek more information.
Inside Higher Ed reported in 2020 about Boroujeni and student outcry over his removal as the debate team coach at Fresno State. Administrators in Fresno State's Department of Communication said the move was due to a department restructuring plan, though Boroujeni claimed in his complaint that it was because he ended his relationship with the professor, EdSource reported. The investigator concluded department officials had “legitimate reasons” for the personnel changes and that Boroujeni was not harassed by the the professor. (Note: This paragraph was added to the article to include past reporting by Inside Higher Ed and provide additional details and context about Boroujeni.)
In February, the Fresno State professor reached a $53,300 settlement with the university after arguing it hadn’t sufficiently protected her. She and Boroujeni were told to avoid each other on campus while he continued to teach. He resigned from the university in 2022 and pledged not to seek employment at any California State University campus.
The community college district awarded Boroujeni tenure this year, despite the investigation and an order granted by the district prohibiting him from contacting the woman. He became head of the college’s Academic Senate in May. He told EdSource there are pending complaints against him regarding his interactions with three female colleagues at the college alleging “gender discrimination.”
Jill Wagner, a district spokesperson, told EdSource via email that Boroujeni’s tenure committee “considered multiple factors in favor of granting tenure” and “areas of concern were not identified.”
When asked if committee members were fully informed about the investigation results, she responded that the district adhered to state laws and the district’s union contract in his tenure process, “which prescribes what information can be included in tenure review.”
The three public university systems in the state—the California State University, University of California and California Community College systems—have no mechanism for sharing information about employees’ records of sexual misconduct allegations, EdSource reported.
(Note: This article has been updated with new information.)