CFA members – particularly those who instruct, counsel, coach, and provide library services at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – are horrified to learn that former California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro plans to take his unearned place as a tenured professor in the College of Business at Cal Poly beginning with the Spring 2023 term.
Castro is poaching a position that he does not hold a terminal degree in to teach “leadership and public policy in the management, human resources and information systems concentration” in the business college – possibly displacing existing teachers with proven instructional records. How does this best serve students?
Castro resigned as chancellor due to his mishandling of sexual harassment cases as president of Fresno State. Castro knew of and ignored abuse complaints against a Fresno State administrator, wrote letters of recommendation for the campus executive, and then negotiated an expensive severance package rewarding the bad behavior. Many more students, faculty, and staff bravely shared their experience with a specious sexual harassment and assault complaint process. More concerned with his reputation and that of the university, Castro chose to forgo the study and implementation of survivor-focused solutions. And he’s slated to instruct Cal Poly students in “leadership,” “public policy,” and “management?”
Is this the “learn by doing” to which Cal Poly students will be subjected? Shame on CSU trustees and executives for thinking Castro was a suitable or appropriate fit for students. Shame on Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong for not working harder to protect students, faculty, and staff from Castro’s chicanery and misplaced values.
Though a recent “independent” report from the CSU Board of Trustees laid most of the blame on Castro for Fresno State’s sexual harassment scandal, CFA members know better. This dishonest sham of a report is an attempt to ignore the systemic abuses within the CSU, and evade much-needed reform in how the CSU and its 23 campuses fund and resource their Title IX offices. The CSU must solve severe and systemic problems of abuse across the system.
Castro’s abhorrent actions and leadership style may reflect the values of CSU administration and executives at the Chancellor’s Office, but they are not the values of CSU students, faculty, and staff.
Trustees recently updated their policy on the right of executives to “retreat” to faculty positions, but the minor adjustments don’t go far enough. They must abolish the executive perks or golden parachute packages mislabeled as “retreat” rights.
We are aware that CSU management intends to assess itself through a contract with the law firm Cozen O’Connor that involves campus visits. While this effort to understand and reform the CSU is to be commended, we are concerned that the law firm (that boasts of beating workers) will not go far enough in remedying the CSU. We appreciate the legislature heeding our calls for an independent audit of the CSU system.
This moment offers an opportunity for truly addressing the systemic nature of sexual and gender violence and abuse of power. The CSU’s approach to handling Title IX-related incidents must be revolutionized to better protect survivors, and systemic changes like abolishing executive-level golden parachutes into the classroom should be a part of that process.