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California State University system accused of ‘institutional betrayal’ of sexual misconduct victims

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Sexual Harassment

Students go to college to gain an education, learn more about themselves and prepare for their future careers — not to suffer sexual abuse and harassment. But when a college student is the victim of sexual misconduct, they should be able to turn to their school’s leadership for support and help exposing and punishing the wrongdoer.

Accused of ignoring hundreds of reports

Unfortunately, a lack of attention and accountability is exactly what hundreds of students in the California State University system have suffered in recent years, according to a report commissioned by CSU. The report accuses CSU of taking no action on hundreds of sexual misconduct complaints against employees, despite being required to by the California Department of Human Rights and the federal Title IX law.

Given the CSU system’s apparent indifference to sexual misconduct, it would not be surprising if hundreds more victims chose not to report what happened to them. “We were struck,” the report’s authors wrote in a summary, “by the breadth and depth of distrust across the CSU and the potential disruptive impacts… on the effectiveness of campus Title IX/DHR programs.”

Former SJSU trainer accused of fondling patients

CSU commissioned the report in the wake of dozens of accusations against Scott Shaw, the former head athletic trainer at San Jose State University. Student-athletes treated by Shaw accused him of groping their breasts and buttocks, leading to six misdemeanor criminal charges.

Every student in California is entitled to a college experience free from sexual harassment and assault. And public universities like CSU have the legal duty to investigate complaints and punish offenders. When that does not happen, victims may have the power to take legal action to seek justice.

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