University President Joseph I. Castro issued a statement today (Aug. 3) with regard to a planned protest.
“The University is aware of a planned protest against sexual assault/violence and in support of survivors. We fully support students’ rights to speak out on issues of concern, while doing so safely. We urge everyone to follow public health guidelines by wearing facial coverings and maintaining proper physical distance, and to carry plenty of water, given the extreme heat forecast for today.
“I also want to take this opportunity to reiterate our stance on violent crimes, particularly sexual assault, and to lay out the immediate actions taken by the University since first learning about the allegations in early March through public accounts made available through social media of the alleged assault(s) that occurred off campus in late January.
“Acts of sexual assault are reprehensible, regardless of location and circumstances; I condemn them vigorously. We take reported assaults very seriously and will continue to do everything in our power to protect and support victims, as evidenced by the following actions in this particular case.”
Upon learning of the allegations, the University immediately issued a statement on March 5, including President Castro’s strongly voiced condemnation of sexual assault, while also announcing the immediate interim suspension of the Kappa Sigma fraternity to allow for a review in light of the serious allegations made against them. (Phi Mu sorority was also placed on interim suspension soon thereafter.)
After a full review, the University found sufficient evidence that Kappa Sigma Fraternity hosted an event that resulted in underage drinking of alcohol by a minor and which may have created an environment conducive to sexual misconduct. Effective March 26, the University suspended the fraternity through Dec. 31, 2020. In addition, the fraternity may not host or allow alcohol on the premise of the chapter house until May 31, 2021. The sorority, Phi Mu, has been reinstated after the related review determined it had not violated University policies.
To reiterate, Fresno State takes very seriously all allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. While student privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restricts the University from sharing information on specific cases involving student matters, campus officials want to be clear that the University’s Office of Title IX reviews every reported incident thoroughly and follows the required investigatory and hearing process in accordance with California State University policy. Also, it is the University’s practice to provide counseling and support services for victims through the University’s Confidential Survivor Advocate.
In situations where the University is made aware of allegations of a sexual assault of a student at an off-campus location, the Fresno State’s Police Department will cooperate with local law-enforcement agencies who are responsible for investigating cases, if the alleged incidents occurred within their jurisdiction.
Further, President Castro’s office has attempted to schedule a meeting with the student who has issued the complaint. However, to date, there has been no response to repeated attempts by President Castro’s office to schedule a meeting.
Related resources for survivors:
- Confidential survivor’s advocate (559.278.6796) in the Student Health and Counseling Center. The survivor’s advocate can assist and support affected students and also talk through options, including the campus Title IX process. As stated on our Confidential Advocacy Services website for our students, you are NOT alone. You are NEVER to blame. There is help available.
- University’s Title IX office (559.278.5357).
- Affected students also have the option of reporting the situation to Fresno State police at 559.278.8400 and/or local police.