San Jose state president Mary Papazian announced her resignation on Thursday, two weeks after the US Justice Department investigated the school in adequately responding to reports of sexual abuse by her former director of sports medicine for more than a decade. have failed.
Papazian was not president when the state of San Jose first received reports from swimmers and divers in 2009-’10 that Scott Shaw had, under the guise of medical treatment, sometimes under his undergarments, his breasts, groin, buttocks and/or The pubic areas were massaged. His term as President began in 2016.
But it launched a new investigation into those claims in late 2019, with a DOJ finding that “fell short in many cases.” That inquiry, which began in San Jose State and was conducted by the California State University system and completed by a private law firm, confirmed the 10 women’s allegations against Shaw dating back to 2007.
USA Today first reported the allegations against Shaw in April 2020. Reporters interviewed four women who said Shaw touched them inappropriately during “pressure-point” or “trigger-point” therapy. USA Today also spoke to a water polo and gymnastics athlete at the time, who described a similar touch by Shaw.
DOJ reports mistake in most recent investigation To “make minimal or no effort” to interview additional women identified as potential victims of abuse. Additionally, because the university failed to take adequate precautions, Shaw recently sexually assaulted at least two more athletes in 2018 and 2020.
papazian’s letter to campus on Thursday She said she would step down at the end of December. It did not specify the reason for his departure.
“The best interests of campus are at the fore of every decision I make. After careful consideration, I have made the decision to step down from the presidency,” Papazian said. “I really love this university and believe this option will allow us to focus positively and fully on our talented, diverse and outstanding campus.”
CSU’s top acting chancellor, Joseph Castro, who oversees all 23 campuses, including San Jose State, also offered no explanation. He thanked Papazian for his service.
“President Papazian’s decision to resign from the presidency reflects his compassionate leadership,” Castro said. “While being difficult both professionally and personally, this move demonstrates its commitment to the university to move forward.”
The DOJ’s investigation already required San Jose State to offer at least $125,000 to at least 23 former female athletes Shaw abused. In addition, San Jose State should contact all female athletes who were there from August 2006 to August 2020 at the time Shaw was employed at the school, and provide them with resources and an opportunity to file a complaint.
So far thirteen women have accepted the settlement offer, which requires them to relinquish additional legal claims. The remaining women are still considering whether to accept the money or continue litigation. In March, 10 women reportedly claimed that school staff knew about Shaw’s patterns of sexual abuse, but did nothing to protect them.
“From the beginning, the brave women we represent have fought to ensure that no future SJSU student-athlete will ever face the same violations – their physical autonomy, their rights, and their breach of trust,” the lawyer said. Shaunak Dharp, who represents 15 women who said Shaw abused them.
“President Papazian’s resignation indicates that, after more than a decade, the administration of SJSU is finally ready to accept accountability and begin the process of reform and healing.”
Papazian’s resignation is the latest departure stemming from Shaw’s abuse and San Jose State’s response.
Shaw resigned in August 2020. He has not been criminally charged, and last year denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer. The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into the charges against him. It remains open.
In May, Papazian fired Marie Tuit from her job as athletic director and assigned her a new role as director of external relations. Tuit resigned three months later.
The DOJ investigation, as well as the CSU investigation, found that San Jose State retaliated against two whistleblowers in violation of Title IX.
Swimming coach Sage Hopkins repeatedly expressed concern about Shaw’s conduct following the school’s 2010 human resources investigation, which accused him of wrongdoing. That investigation found that Shaw’s touch was an acceptable medical treatment. Papazian reopened the investigation in December 2019 when Hopkins circulated a nearly 300-page document to school officials, Mountain West Conference and NCAA officials detailing the swimmers’ allegations.
During that investigation, Tuit ordered then-Deputy Athletic Director Steve O’Brien to issue a negative performance review to Hopkins. O’Brien resisted this, fearing it was retaliatory, and Tuit fired him weeks later.
Hopkins and O’Brien sued the university separately in March for retaliation. As part of San Jose State’s resolution agreement with the DOJ, Papazian promised to “express appreciation” in writing to Hopkins for his years-long efforts to protect the athletes.
San Jose State is currently investigating how it handled the 2009-’10 investigation, which cleared Shaw, as well as how the school handled the latter’s concerns. In a news release, the school said Papazian will continue to cooperate with that investigation.
“This transition does not affect our intention and obligation to explain what happened and how the university responded at that time,” Papazian said.
Although no reason is given for Papazian’s resignation in the release, it focuses heavily on the Title IX changes made in the wake of the investigation into Shaw. These include restructuring the Title IX office and hiring new employees, raising funding and expanding education programs.
Some changes are required by the DOJ, which will oversee its agreement with the school through the 2024-’25 academic year.