Sonoma State University President Judy Saki announced today that she is resigning from the presidency, starting July 31.
Her resignation after six years as president follows criticism from the faculty of the way she handled allegations of sexual harassment by a former university director against her husband, Patrick McCallum, a lobbyist for the country’s fire department.
Sacaki’s resignation comes when the University of California system is shaken by complaints of sexual behavior on at least seven other CSU campuses, including the University of San Jose State.
CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro, the former president of Fresno State, resigned in February over misconduct allegations of sexual misconduct.
The president of the state of San Jose, Mary Papazian, resigned in December due to similar complaints.
Cal State San Bernadino is the latest campus where allegations that managers have handled sexual harassment complaints, and similar allegations have sparked CSU Bakersfield, Cal Poly Humboldt, CSU Fullerton, CSU Monterey Bay and Chico State.
The CSU Board of Directors conducts a systematic review of complaints in Title IX, and the actions of an athletics coach in the state of San Jose prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“To serve as president of Sonoma State was truly an honor. After informed deliberations and discussions with my family, I made the decision to resign as president of this wonderful campus,” Skaki said in a statement. “I really care about Sonoma State and believe this choice will allow the campus community to move forward. With proper timing. I am grateful to all of SSU’s and North Bay communities for the opportunity to serve in such a challenging and changing time in Sonoma State.
Sakaki, who was the first Japanese-American woman to serve as university president, came under fire following allegations of sexual harassment and revenge filed against her.
Last month, state lawmakers urged her to resign following a vote of no confidence by university faculty.
She was criticized for the way she handled allegations of sexual harassment leveled against her husband. In April, Skaki announced that she and Maklum had separated.
Lisa Wallendorf, the former campus principal, was paid $ 600,000 earlier this year to settle a lawsuit she filed alleging that she was sexually harassed by McCallum. Although he did not work at the university, McCallum was an “official university volunteer,” the Los Angeles Times reported, accompanying his wife to official events.
University faculty and staff also claimed that Saki failed to address drop in enrollment, budget crisis and low morale among students and staff across Sonoma State.
Prior to her tenure at Sonoma State, Skaki spent more than 40 years in various administrative roles at the University of California State system and the University of California system. In 2017, Sackie was named President of the Year by the California State Student Association. She was also a founding board member of Americans in Pacific Asia in Higher Education.
“Throughout her career in higher education, President Sakaki has demonstrated a strong passion for the transformative power of an academic degree,” said Cal State interim Chancellor Jolene Koster. “We are grateful for her many services in higher education including in Sonoma State and Fresno State.”
An interim president is expected to be announced soon.
Ashley Smith is an editor at EdSource, in association with Bay City News.
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