Fresno State President welcomes new year, along with return of controversial professor

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Thousands of new Fresno State students walking into a healthy university, as described by school President Dr. Joseph Castro.

“Our community knows that we grow leaders, that’s what we do at Fresno State,” Castro said.

This year, a record number of students on campus, record numbers of applicants and donor participation on the rise.

But also in 2018, Professor Randa Jarrar making her mark on social media, even as recently as July.

“If those kind of comments were made directly against a student in a classroom, that’s a whole other matter,” Castro said. “But these were made on a private social media channel.” 

Monday, Castro emphasizing freedom of speech and promising more conversation, also calling this an opportunity to change the dialogue.

“We can disagree without being disagreeable,” Castro said. “And I want to emphasize civility and respect, even when we have disagreements.”

Most concretely, Castro says, the academic senate will discuss current social media guidelines and put together their own set of practices, which Castro could approve and sign-off on.

“The process of doing that is going to heighten awareness, and I think we’re going to be stronger after we go through this,” Castro said.

We did ask Castro if any students who need one of Jarrar’s classes, did not want to take them.

He said he is not aware of any situation like that, but the school would work with students in that scenario.

Reporting at Fresno State, Megan Rupe. 

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