Following the release of a nearly year-long assessment, the California State University has committed to improving its Title IX and other non-discrimination programs prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation (DHR) based on protected categories and, in doing so, strengthen its culture of care and compliance across the 23-university system.
The largest and most comprehensive review of its type, the CSU Systemwide Title IX and DHR Assessment, undertaken by the Institutional Response Group of the Cozen O’Connor law firm, found that the CSU will need to expand its infrastructure and resources tobest address the complex landscape of Title IX and DHR work including prevention, education and complaint resolution. According to the report, centralized oversight and accountability measures will play an important role in rebuilding the community’s trust in the CSU’s ability to more effectively protect its students, faculty and staff,and ensure a culture and climate on campuses that is welcoming, inclusive and respectful.
“The systemwide and university recommendations outlined in this report provide a pathway that moves us from where we have fallen short to a stronger and more vital university system,” said Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester. “To bring about meaningful, authentic and sustained change, the entire Cal State community must walk this path together. We will not squander this opportunity. We will get this right. The CSU's mission and core values demand it and our community deserves it."
In March 2022, the CSU Board of Trustees commissioned Cozen O’Connor to conduct a comprehensive systemwide independent assessment of the university’s implementation of Title IX and other anti-discrimination programs following troubling reports of sexual harassment and other misconduct. The goal of the assessment –which included site visits to all 23 CSU universities and the Chancellor’s Office and feedback from more than 18,000 students, staff and faculty –is to strengthen the culture in the workplace and the classroom so that it is better aligned with the CSU’s core values. The assessment considered current practices and provided insights, recommendations and resources to advance the CSU’s Title IX and DHR training, awareness, prevention, intervention, compliance and support systems, as well as campus culture and climate.
“The CSU Board of Trustees would like to thank Cozen O’Connor for its methodical and comprehensive examination of the CSU’s Title IX and DHR programming,” said CSU Board of Trustees Chair Wenda Fong. “The findings and recommendations of this assessment provide the CSU with a vital, valuable and necessary roadmap to realize its potential to become a national leader in responding to Title IX and discrimination, harassment and retaliation matters.”
According to the report, in some instances, the CSU has already taken steps to address the concerns publicly identified and assessed through the review. Despite this swift action by the CSU to address gaps identified in institutional responses to particular instances, there is still significant work to be done to ensure that the CSU’s universities are welcoming environments for students, faculty and staff, free of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct, the report indicates.
Cozen’s recommendations also include steps to address ongoing concerns, including issues related to barriers to reporting or participating in lengthy campus complaint processes, concerns about retaliation and challenges in the accountability processes for represented employees.
The full Cozen report can be found here where the CSU will also post regular updates on the implementation of the recommendations.
ABOUT CAL MARITIME
Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus serves nearly 1,000 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. The new oceanography degree program launched in the fall of 2020. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.