FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – After claims of systemic issues at Cal State University System, Assemblyman Jim Patterson and 43 other state legislators filed a request to the state auditor for an investigation into CSU’s Title IX policies and procedures.

The request comes a couple of months after the explosive USA Today articles and the resignation of Chancellor Joseph Castro.

“Where were the people in charge saying this wasn’t right?” questioned Patterson. “It appears to so many of us to be a system that protects itself.”

The main reason the legislators called for the state audit is transparency and to gain community trust. Patterson said that the state audit allows for the investigation to be independent and not from lawyers that the University System is paying.

“Our Union supports an independent state investigation of the California State University system’s handling of Title IX violations at Fresno State and other universities. We owe it to our students and staff to offer a learning and working environment that is safe: Safe from abusive managers – and safe from any type of bullying, harassment, and retaliation.

Title IX is supposed to guarantee protections. But over and over, we hear stories from students and staff who are left unprotected because campus officials don’t have the capacity or will to enforce Title IX.

There must be mechanisms in place to better protect students and employees from predatory managers at the CSU. The system needs real reform and the CSU community needs real protections.” – Statement from CSU Employees Union President Catherine Hutchinson

The audit request comes after several reports detailing sexual harassment claims at Sonoma State, San Jose State, and Fresno State.

In March, USA Today articles detailed sexual harassment complaints and a Title IX investigation into Fresno State Vice President of Student Affairs Frank Lamas.

Despite the allegations against him, documents show that Lamas was given the lifetime achievement award, a $260,000 payout, and a letter of recommendation signed by Fresno State President Joseph Castro as long as Lamas retired and never worked for a CSU campus again. Lamas has denied all allegations against him.

The fallout from the articles led to Chancellor Castro’s resignation, which included a settlement that paid Castro $400,000.

CSU “retreat rights” will allow Castro to teach at Cal Poly SLO as a tenured professor after a year.

“Unfortunately the CSU system has done some embarrassing things, hurtful things, and the University itself seems to be very protective of the higher-ups, particularly in the chancellor’s office and the presidents of the various campuses,” said Patterson.

CSU Trustee approved for two law offices to do their own audit and investigation.

“The California State University is continually working to improve our practices and policies to create the best learning and working environments for our students and employees.

As one of the more recent examples of efforts to strengthen the CSU, the university has already engaged a nationally renowned firm to conduct an independent assessment of Title IX practices across all campuses and the Chancellor’s Office.

We are appreciative of our elected leaders who share the same goals of supporting CSU students and employees. Should the legislature ultimately determine that an audit of the university’s Title IX policies is necessary, the Chancellor’s Office and any campuses identified will readily participate.” -CSU Spokesperson Michael Uhlenkamp.

The audit request needed to be submitted by today in order to be voted on during the June 27 meeting. If it is approved the audit will be done after the CSU audit or within 4 months of the date that it passed.