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Ex-Chancellor at Cal State Had ‘Blind Spot’ on Friend

September 30, 2022

The former chancellor of California State University, Joseph I. Castro, had a “blind spot” about a friend charged with harassment, said a report issued Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The report concerned Castro’s conduct when he was president of Cal State’s campus at Fresno. The friend was Frank Lamas, who was hired as a campus vice president for 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.

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,” the report said.

Lamas left the university in 2020 with a $260,000 payment and a letter of recommendation from Castro as part a settlement that was authorized by the CSU chancellor at the time. Three weeks later, Castro was named chancellor of the system.

Revelations about the settlement led to Castro’s resignation in February.

Lamas was not available for comment, but he has previously denied wrongdoing.

In a statement Thursday, Castro disputed the report, saying he had made decisions based on the advice of the previous chancellor and Cal State’s general counsel, among others. “I have been a steadfast champion for gender equity throughout my career and will redouble my efforts in this important area going forward,” Castro said.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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