CSUF Failed To Investigate Claims That President Framroze Virjee, “Fram,” Inappropriately Touched Students
FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA (May 21, 2023) – Cal State Fullerton officials failed to investigate reports that their school president Framroze Virjee allegedly inappropriately touched students, according to the LA Times.
The first report was made in August 2019. One student said that CSUF President Framroze Virjee hugged and kissed her on the forehead.
She went on to say that the encounter made her feel very uncomfortable. Another report in 2021 stated that President Framroze Virjee forcibly touched and hugged a female student, despite her objections.
A third student said that the school president rubbed her arm and touched her back without her consent. The campus official in charge of enforcing sexual harassment policy at the school made the determination that the conduct did not violate university policy.
The CSUF President said that he did nothing wrong and announced plans to retire in July. Officials at the chancellor’s office said that it was inaccurate to describe the allegations as sexual harassment.
Liability For Sexual Harassment In Universities
Sexual harassment in colleges and universities is unfortunately very common in the United States. Female students are particularly at risk. According to the American Association of University Women, “AAUW’s own research revealed that two-thirds of college students experience sexual harassment. Studies have also found that approximately 26% of all female undergraduate students and 6.8% of all male undergraduate students have experienced sexual assault.” Sexual harassment can come in many different forms including:
- Unwanted touching or kissing.
- Requests for sexual favors.
- Using sexually explicit language.
- Telling sexual jokes.
- Making lewd comments about a person’s figure.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment in education. The law requires schools that receive federal funding to adopt and promulgate policies to reduce sexual harassment. The Third Circuit has set forth conditions under which a university cam be liable for sexual harassment under Title IX. In short, a university can be liable for sexual harassment when it acts with deliberate indifference in addressing the harmful conduct.
See, for example, Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Ed., 526 U.S. 629 (1999). The university would need to “exercises substantial control over both the harasser and the context in which the known harassment occurs.” It would also “have to know of the harassment and ultimately respond in a manner that is clearly unreasonable.” Title IX requires schools to take swift action when they become aware of any instances of harassment, especially when it involves university employees. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any instance of sexual harassment in college.
- A report of the incident should be made.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Any related medical records should be preserved.
- An experienced sexual harassment attorney should be consulted.
Sexual harassment is no small matter. It affects students far beyond their college experience. Victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment are more prone to a wide range of physical and physiological ailments. Teachers and school administrators must be held to the very highest standard when it comes to sexual harassment. They have positions of authority and frankly should know better. Any person that is the victim of sexual harassment in college may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.
Investigating Sexual Harassment Claims At CSUF
We at Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all of the women who have come forward and issued reports regarding President Framroze Virjee. It is our sincere hope that the university will take measures to properly investigate all of the sexual harassment claims that it receives. No one should ever be allowed to bend or break rules because of their influence or standing with an institution. To the contrary, it is our leaders who must be held to the highest standard.
Have you or someone that you care about been the victim of sexual harassment while attending California State University Fullerton? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of sexual harassment attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that schools and universities are doing everything in their power to prevent sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.