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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro resigned Thursday as criticism mounted over his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a former administrator at Cal-State Fresno, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

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Castro, who has held his post in the nation’s largest public university system since September 2020, resigned two weeks after it was reported that Frank Lamas, CSU Fresno’s former vice president of student affairs and enrollment, had been the subject of at least a dozen complaints over the past six years, the newspaper reported.

Castro had been the president of CSU Fresno at the time and authorized a $260,000 payout and a retirement package for Lamas, the Los Angeles Times reported. Lamas had been the subject of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment that started in 2014, according to the newspaper.

Castro was appointed as CSU’s chancellor three weeks after the settlement, which allowed Lamas to retire, the Chronicle reported.

“I have been honored to serve the California State University for more than eight years, including as its eighth chancellor, and the decision to resign is the most difficult of my professional life,” Castro said in a statement. “While I disagree with many aspects of recent media reports and the ensuing commentary, it has become clear to me that resigning at this time is necessary so that the CSU can maintain its focus squarely on its educational mission and the impactful work yet to be done.”

The resignation was effective immediately, the Chronicle reported.

Steve Relyea, CSU’s executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, was named acting chancellor until an interim chancellor can be appointed, the California State University Board of Trustees said in a news release.

“We appreciate Chancellor Castro’s cooperation with the Trustees and his decision to step down for the benefit of California State University system,” Board of Trustees Chair Lillian Kimbell said in a statement.

Castro, who was making $625,000 annually, was the first Mexican American and native Californian to lead the state’s public university system, according to the Chronicle. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in higher education and leadership from Stanford University, according to the newspaper.

“As I know from my own lived experience, our state’s and nation’s diverse and talented young people — especially low-income and first-generation students — deserve access to the transformative power of higher education that so often can seem like an elusive dream,” Castro said in his statement. “I remain forever committed to ensuring that those students — our future leaders — are able to achieve that dream for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Cal State’s university system has 23 campuses, nearly half a million students and more than 50,000 employees the Chronicle reported.