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Reproof and Redemption in a Title IX Review

Reproof and Redemption in a Title IX Review

Inside Higher Ed

Liam Knox
June 1, 2023
When California State University chancellor Joseph I. Castro resigned last spring amid accusations that he mishandled sexual misconduct allegations against a colleague during his tenure as president of Fresno State, CSU’s Board of Trustees ordered a full external review of the system’s Title IX reporting and investigation processes.
The results of that review, presented to the board last Wednesday by the law firm Cozen O’Connor, are damning. Gina Maisto Smith, chair of Cozen O’Connor’s institutional response group, said the investigation found an “uneven application of policy” among the system’s 23 campuses. In the cases her team reviewed, she said, campus Title IX investigators often came to “incredibly disjointed and frankly unreliable conclusions.”
Associates for Cozen O’Connor said they visited every campus in the system and used feedback from over 18,000 students, staff, faculty members and administrators to build their understanding of the current procedures and inform their recommendations for change.
Among other things, the law firm recommended that CSU hire dedicated staff to oversee Title IX complaints across the system—positions that Maisto Smith said “don’t really exist” at the moment; add resources and training in “trauma-informed Title IX compliance”; and create a well-staffed, formal oversight body at the system level to ensure the accountability of campus officials.
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