Last Published 5/30/23
The Los Angeles Times published an article on May 21, 2023 reporting about CSU policies and procedures regarding Title IX. The article purports to describe unsubstantiated and unfounded actions by President Fram Virjee based on initial intake reports released by the Chancellor’s Office to the LA Times.
These initial intake reports were written by third parties, not by any individual involved. The reports were unsubstantiated and unverified. None of the individuals identified in the reports ever filed a complaint or sought to pursue the matter. All three third-party intake reports were closed because the identified individuals either did not respond to outreach or because they did not want to move forward with a complaint. The Title IX coordinator determined based upon the content of the reports, the circumstances described, and the fact that even after outreach, no individual sought to file a complaint or pursue the matter in any way, that the reports did not constitute a violation of CSU policy or Title IX.
The President’s office and the university take these matters very seriously. We support a thorough and fair process and remain ready to investigate all claims of Title IX violations that require investigation pursuant to systemwide policy. In situations where the individual involved does not seek to move forward, or where they fail to respond to outreach to assist them in going forward with a complaint, determinations regarding whether an investigation is required are made on a case-by-case basis, based on the facts and circumstances at the time, as provided for in policy.
None of these third party intake reports were shared with the President at the time they were received, or at any time thereafter until recently (years after) when the Chancellor’s Office provided them in response to a request from the LA Times, leaving President Virjee in the position of having to clarify the facts described in the reports, years later on a cold record and without any ability to speak with anyone or otherwise validate what actually occurred.
In response to elements of the article, we are providing questions and answers to clarify how the CSU and CSUF responded to the reports.
Who made the reports?
The unsubstantiated initial intake reports (not complaints) were provided by staff members (not the potential complainants) to the Title IX office. Under CSU policy, certain employees who become aware of possible violations of the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy have an obligation to make a report as responsible employees, even if they have not personally observed what they are reporting.
What happens after a report is filed?
After receiving an initial intake report, the Title IX officer follows CSU’s procedure and reaches out to the person identified as the potential complainant to offer services and resources, invites the individual to discuss the allegations and advises them of their right to file a complaint. This is the process that was followed with the reports mentioned in the article.
Why didn’t an investigation take place?
Complaints against a campus president are made to the Chancellor’s Office. If the Chancellor’s Office received a complaint against a campus president, it would be up to the appropriate official at the Chancellor’s Office to determine whether an investigation is warranted, and to investigate the complaint. Here, in each case, the Title IX officer reached out to the potential complainant, alerted them to the process, and offered to assist them in preparing the complaint to the Chancellor’s Office. None accepted her offer of assistance, and no complaint was ever filed.
Was the president notified of the reports?
No, the president was not notified of the reports or their content at any time before they were provided to the LA Times years later. It is important to note that, to encourage reporting and privacy, the actual reports are kept confidential until such time as a formal investigation is commenced.
What does President Virjee say about the situation?
“The CSU has insisted, correctly, that all matters were handled pursuant to CSU systemwide policy and practice. Specifically, and consistent with policy, I was not made aware of the third-party intial intake reports described by the Times, or their content, at the time they were received. Instead, the intake reports were reviewed, evaluated, and closed without my knowledge or consultation.
I did not learn of the reports or their content until they were shared with the Times years later.
Had I been made aware of the reports and their inaccurate content at the time they were received, my primary concern would have been to make sure all involved were okay and then provide clarification of the misleading descriptions in the reports. To do that, I would have insisted on two things.
First, more fulsome outreach to the students involved to assure they received any services needed, and to assure they did not wish to pursue the matter. And second, to assure investigation and clarification of the exaggerated and inaccurate descriptions in the reports and correct any inaccurate records. That never happened because the reports were not shared with me. Instead, years later, I am being asked to explain and clarify on a cold record, what I view as exaggerated and inaccurate third-party descriptions.
Simply put, pursuant to CSU policy, the reports were not shared with me, preventing me from taking any action to address them.
For fairness to all parties involved, any reported claims of misconduct received should be subject to a thorough review, including sharing of what has been reported with all concerned so that the record can be made clear. That did not happen here. I hope that the Board will address this now-obvious inconsistency in the CSU’s Title IX policies, so that a similar fate does not befall someone else.”
Did the president violate CSU policy?
No, there have been no substantiated violations of the CSU Nondiscrimination Policy by the president.
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