Dear Titan Family,
I know this is a busy and exciting time for all of us as we close the spring semester and head toward graduation for thousands of our fellow Titans. While I join you in that excitement, today I write to ask for a few moments of your time to address an article in today’s Los Angeles Times, which focuses on CSU’s Title IX policy and procedures and provides supposed descriptions of interactions between me and three Titans, based on intake reports filed by third parties.
I seek to provide you with some factual clarity. That said, rather than providing you here with a point-by-point response to statements in the article – statements with which I strongly disagree and which I believe are inaccurate -- I strongly encourage you to read my full “on the record” description of the subject interactions, as I provided directly to the Times’ reporters in response to their specific questions. It is my hope and expectation that, in reading my description of these interactions, you will see that the Times story inappropriately relies on inaccurate, unverified third-party descriptions of events that in no way represent who I am as a person or a university president. Read statement
What I will say is that the intake reports referenced by the Times were provided by third parties, not students. The third-party reports were handled pursuant to CSU policies. Once received, they were carefully reviewed by our Title IX coordinator, who reached out directly to the identified students to offer them services and resources and to advise them of their right to pursue a complaint if they were so inclined. But no individual chose to avail themselves of services, pursue the matter in any way or file a complaint. Also, two of the reports were independently found by the Title IX coordinator not to be credible. Simply put, the third-party intake reports were never verified or substantiated.
What is also important to know is that I was not made aware of the reports or their content at the time they were filed. This is more than regrettable. Had I been made aware at the time, my primary concern would have been to make sure that all identified were okay, and then to make the facts clear. Because the reports were not shared with me, I could not do that and, frankly, I feel ambushed today by that failure and being left to respond to them years later– without any complaint filed by any student, despite the direct outreach to them. Again, at no time (until the Times asked for the reports) was I ever made aware of the reports, their content, or the process; nor was I involved in the process in any way.
On a more personal note, as many of you know, I have now been the President at CSUF for more than five years. During that time, I have worked hard to immerse myself in the Titan Family – including attending as many events as I am able, and walking the campus regularly visiting with students, faculty, and staff. I consider it an integral part of my job to meet and talk with as many members of the Titan Family as possible, learning of their pride points for CSUF, and of the challenges they face and things they would like to see changed on campus.
In my role, I believe it is imperative that I be as approachable and accessible as possible. I am informal by nature – hence my request that I be addressed as Fram rather than President Virjee, my predilection to provide my cell number to anyone who wants it, and to invite anyone who is interested to visit me in my office. One of the joys of this job is connecting with the Titan Family. I meet and greet dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of people a day; hundreds (and sometimes thousands) a week; and too many to count in a month or a year. My goal in each of these interactions is to make them feel seen, welcome, and included. That said, I am by no means perfect. To anyone – and I mean anyone – I might have ever made uncomfortable, that is regrettable and was never my intent. Again, my motive is always to the contrary – to make you feel welcome and included.
Finally, as many of you know, and as my wife Julie often reminds me, this is not a job for me. I have already retired twice and, as I announced back in January, am about to retire a third time. For us, this is and has been a mission and a calling. A calling to create and build a community where all at CSUF can thrive, develop to their full potential, and then go out and change the world for the better. A community where all feel included and that they belong. A community of heart, where we respect, care for, and support each other. And such a community needs or, dare say I, demands authenticity, warmth, respect, and love for each other. I am here to build community, train up servant leaders, and change the world for the better.
Thanks for listening