Last Published 5/23/23
These reports of interactions were not made by any of the students who are the subject of the reports. For each of these reports, I am told the Title IX Coordinator followed standard procedures and did not believe that an investigation was warranted because the students involved did not respond to outreach by the coordinator or chose not to pursue the matter. In addition, the coordinator conducted her own evaluation based on the content of the reports and determined that, even if true, they did not amount to a policy violation. Therefore, the reports were and remain uninvestigated, unverified, and unvalidated third-party descriptions of interactions, descriptions, which are also inaccurate and incomplete.
Reports of this nature are handled on a confidential basis. I was not made aware of these reports or their content until the LA Times asked for copies of them. Had I been made aware of the reports and their inaccurate descriptions at the time or had any of the students involved filed a complaint, I would have had an opportunity to clarify what occurred from my perspective and, most importantly, to take steps to make sure that all involved were okay, which would have been my primary concern.
Regarding the report filed in 2019, I have no recollection of the four-year old description of events as I interact with thousands of students a year. If I ever made anyone feel uncomfortable, that certainly was not my intent. It is my understanding that this matter was closed because, after outreach to the student, she did not wish to pursue the matter in any way. I would only add that the described interaction took place in a public area of the university during regular school hours.
The reported interactions in 2021 are not accurate descriptions of what happened. I have a clear recollection of these interactions because they occurred as part of a tour that included university administrative staff, along with Assembly Member Jose Medina and his staff.
During the tour, the group entered one of the resource centers in our library, where we met three women. Two of them knew me and greeted me with a friendly hug. After I had exchanged hugs with these students, the third student whom I didn’t know asked me (in what I interpreted as a humorous voice) if she didn’t also deserve a hug. I said, “of course,” and we also exchanged a hug. A few minutes later, as we were leaving the center, feeling bad that I had not acknowledged her at the outset in the first greeting, I offered her a hug goodbye. She teased back something to the effect of “not on your life.” We then exchanged a quick hug and I left with the group. These interactions took only a few moments.
While touring a different resource center (the Dreamers Center) with the same large group, a student was eating her lunch and stood up when the tour group entered. She appeared startled and surprised. Sensing her discomfort (assuming she was an undocumented student and was meeting the university president and a state legislator), I stood beside her and faced the group to make introductions. My hand may have touched the student’s shoulder or arm as I introduced her to members of this group, but nothing more than that happened. If I made any contact with the student, it was only to show support. This entire interaction lasted less than a moment or two.
It is important to point out that these interactions occurred in front of an elected official and his staff. Had anything untoward occurred, I would have expected him to raise it with the Chancellor (he did not), or at the very least, be able to recall the interactions if questioned by the LA Times.
Again, and importantly, in these reported interactions, it was never my intention to make anybody feel uncomfortable. The record also demonstrates that none of the students involved sought to pursue the matter, asked for an investigation, or filed a complaint.
It is also important to note that, at no time during my tenue as President of CSU Fullerton or as CSU’s Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, have I ever been the subject of any verified or substantiated reports of misconduct.