The CSU did not investigate allegations that President Fullerton touched students inappropriately. (2023)

California State University officials learned of the reports accusing the Fullerton campus president of inappropriately touching students, but never launched an investigation, according to internal records and statements.

The first report, conducted on the Cal State Fullerton campus in August 2019, blamed the presidentFramroze "Fram" Virjeehugging a student and kissing her on the forehead, which made her feel "very uncomfortable".

Two other reports, also sent to campus, related to separate incidents when Virjee was shown around the school one day in November 2021. One claimed that "Virjee tried to force himself on a female student multiple times", touching her and trying to hug her. despite her objections. The second accused the rector of touching a student's shoulder and rubbing her back "without her consent" from her, behavior that she and a witness described as "unacceptable."

A campus sexual harassment compliance officer "evaluated the information" and determined that "at face value, the alleged conduct did not constitute a violation of university policy," CSU officials said in a statement. The investigation was unreasonable and the campus official did not alert the Foreign Ministry, according to the statement. The official followed CSU policy, according to the statement.

The CSU did not investigate allegations that President Fullerton touched students inappropriately. (1)

Virjee, who announced he would retire in July, said he had done nothing wrong.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

The reports were filed by campus employees who made "unverified and unsubstantiated" claims, according to the statement. The Title IX Campus official sent emails to all students involved, explaining how they can file a formal complaint with the law firm and offering assistance if needed, a CSU spokesperson said. A campus official met with a student who refused to investigate; According to the CSU, the others did not respond to emails sent to their school and personal accounts.

Experts who reviewed the files for The Times said the reports should have been sent to the Chancellery and investigated by people outside the university because they involved the most powerful official on campus.

“If the presidents are involved, it definitely shouldn't be done on campus,” he said.Sharon Reiter, former assistant vice president at Cal Poly Pomona who led a sexual harassment investigation before retiring in 2020. "If something goes wrong and it's not in their favor, you're in their crosshairs…probably."

CSU officials said a campus employee told the Chancery about the reports in early 2022. The officials did not respond to questions from Times reporters asking for details of why the notification was made and who was informed. The law firm did not take any steps to investigate the allegations or contact the students, authorities said.


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Virjee, who announced his retirement in July, said he had done nothing wrong and had learned of the reports and their "inaccurate descriptions" until the Times asked for documents last year.

He said in a statement that if he had been informed of the reports at the time they were being prepared, he would have been able to do so. "To explain what happened from my perspective and most importantly take steps to make sure everyone involved is safe, which would be my number one concern."

At no point in his CSU career, Virjee added, "I have never been the subject of verified or substantiated reports of wrongdoing."

The CSU tentatively said in a statementChancellor Jolene Koesterpraised Virjee as a leader who "targeted" and "acted with integrity" as president. She said that she had conducted hundreds of sexual harassment training sessions over more than three decades and advocated for diversity, equality and social justice.

The CSU initially refused to publish reports on Virjee, but relented when the Times threatened legal action.

CSU is struggling with how it handles reports of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and retaliation at its 23 locations.

Former Chancellor Joseph I. Castro was embroiled in controversy last year over his handling of allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation against a top official while he was Fresno state president.

Amid the public outcry, a group of campus presidents met, including VirjeeI met with the best consultantto the President of the California ConventionAntoni RendonAccording to a spokeswoman for the legislators, they said they had lost faith in Castro. Rendon is a Fullerton alumnus and is a member of the CSU Board of Trustees. days after,Castro announced his resignation.

Since then, Times investigations have found inconsistencies in how the nation's largest four-year public university system handles reports of sexual misconduct, detailing how this is done.misconduct allegationsagainst high-ranking men were resolved in various ways. The cases included the husband of the university president, who was not formally investigated for alleged sexual harassment, and the vice president, who was not punished after officials said he had violated CSU policies on sexual harassment.

The chancellor and trustees have repeatedly refused requests by the Times over the past year for interviews to discuss how the system handled sexual harassment and other wrongdoing.

reports ofCampus de FullertonThese are the first publicly available recordings accusing the CSU president of touching students inappropriately.

Virjee previously worked in the Chancellor's office as General Counsel at California State University, tasked with improving the system's handling of sexual harassment and misconduct complaints. He has served as the president of Cal State Fullerton since 2018.

In an Aug. 30, 2019, report, a Cal State Fullerton employee said a student said she met Virjee at work at the information booth this week.

"President Virjee embraced [the student] and kissed her on the forehead," the report said.

The report says that the student "stated that this interaction made her feel very uncomfortable" and that she "did not want to be closer to President Virjee after what happened."

The employee who wrote the report sent it to his supervisor, who then forwarded it to Sara Bauer, director of the Title IX School and Gender Justice. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination, and many CSU employees do as well.obliged to reportsuch allegations.

Virjee said that he did not remember the meeting, noting that it was four years ago and that he deals with thousands of students every year.

"If I've ever made someone uncomfortable, I certainly didn't mean to," he said.

The CSU did not investigate allegations that President Fullerton touched students inappropriately. (3)

CSU is struggling with how it handles reports of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and retaliation at its 23 locations.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

The law firm said it was wrong to describe the allegations in the three reports as "sexual harassment."

"Until the reports are investigated and the allegations confirmed, we are treating them as reports of possible policy violations," the spokesperson said.

But both 2021 reports sent to Bauer's office described the allegations as "sexual harassment."

One says that Virjee showed up at the school.Titan Dreamer Resource Centerwith various officials, including formerDeputy Jose Medinawho chaired the Commission of the College of the Assembly.

“Virjee ran up to one of the students… and touched his back without permission. She also rubbed her back and touched her arm for a few seconds,” the worker reported, adding: “I noticed the student froze and she didn't say anything.”

Later, according to the report, the student entered the staff office and "mentioned the discomfort she felt when Virjee ran up to her and touched her without her permission."

The student, along with another student named as a witness, "agreed that this type of behavior was unacceptable and agreed to be included in this report," the employee said.

CSU officials redacted the names of the students, witnesses and employees who filed the complaint.

The CSU did not investigate allegations that President Fullerton touched students inappropriately. (4)

Cal Fullerton's apartment library.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Virjee said he arrived at the center with a group and stood by a student who was eating and seemed surprised that he and other officers turned up.

"My hand could have touched a student's arm or arm when I introduced her to the members of this group, but that's all she did," she said. "If I have contacted a student, it is only to show my support."

Another report stated that Virjee "attempted to force himself on a student on several occasions."African American Resource Center. The student "verbally refused the hug and even showed with her hands that she did not want to be touched," the report says.

According to the report, "Virjee ignored her cues and verbal refusals and continued to have physical contact with her."

The report listed the names of three women who witnessed the incident at the African American Resource Center.

Virjee said three students were at the center when he arrived with Medina and others as part of a campus tour.

"Two of them knew me and greeted me with a friendly hug," Virjee said, adding that a third student asked "if she deserves a hug too."

He said he hugged her and saw her again as the group left the center.

“I felt bad for not greeting her from the first greeting and hugging her goodbye,” Virjee said. “She was joking with something like 'Not in your life.' We then exchanged a quick hug and I left with the group."

Virjee said that his interactions with students at both centers took place in moments and that "it was never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable."

Medina told the Times that he did not see anything inappropriate during the tour.

Without questioning any witnesses, the Title IX official questioned the "credibility" of the 2021 reports alleging misconduct in public places while Virjee was driving. The statement said that no other people had come forward to report a violation during the tour. System officials said a Title IX official noted in all three reports that "the reported behavior, even if true, would not be considered serious or pervasive under CSU guidelines."


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CSU officials said Bauer, a Title IX official, declined to comment on the report.

The spokesman said it was university system policy to reach out to students to offer support "and allow people to investigate allegations without depriving them of their freedom to choose how to proceed."

CSU from VainaPolicy, officials could launch an investigation based on factors such as a "power imbalance" between the accused and the accuser, and whether there were "multiple or prior allegations of wrongdoing" against the same person.

Title IX experts who reviewed the reports on behalf of The Times said Cal State Fullerton's handling of the allegations was problematic for at least two reasons. The allegations should have been sent to the Chancery immediately so that campus employees would not have to decide how to address the allegations against the university's top official, and the CSU should have launched an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations found, especially given the similarity of the claims made in the three reports, the experts said.

Castro, who was the CSU chancellor at the time of the 2021 report, said he had not been informed.

"He should have been informed," Castro told the Times, adding that he "would have approached the Board of Trustees directly with the recommendation to investigate the allegations and suspend the president pending investigation."

Fear of backlash for accusing a powerful university figure of wrongdoing can discourage people from launching an investigation.

For example, after accusing her husband of sexual harassmentFormer Sonoma State PresidentThe prosecutor refused to launch an investigation because she feared reprisals, she told The Times last year.

The allegations were made by campus officials on behalf of several women and reported directly to the Chancery. The system-wide coordinator spoke to the women but did not conduct a formal investigation.

In an interview last year, the CSU administrator stated that the chancellor would review the Sonoma allegations because "we will not allow the Title IX campus coordinator to investigate the allegations against the president or the president's wife."

In response to the complaints, Castro prohibited her husband from visiting the compound, according to a letter from the Foreign Ministry.

Experts say that in the Fullerton case, off-campus CSU officials should have reviewed the reports and decided how to respond.

"Even if ... there's not a Title IX violation, that doesn't mean they can't take other steps," he said.Patel Shiwali, Judicial Director for Student Survivors and General Counsel of the National Center for Women's Law.

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