Dear Sonoma State Community:
SSU vice president of student affairs, Dr. Gregory Sawyer, was mentioned in a recent "Los Angeles Times" article about the CSU’s response to Title IX complaints. Dr. Sawyer had worked as vice president of student affairs at CSU Channel Islands for 16 years before coming to SSU in 2018. He retired in December 2021.
A Title IX complaint was made against Dr. Sawyer at Channel Islands after he accepted the position from Sonoma State. The Channel Islands campus investigated the complaint and the investigation did not substantiate any allegations of Title IX misconduct (although it concluded that some of Dr. Sawyer’s conduct was unprofessional). At no point did SSU learn any information that suggested that Dr. Sawyer should be placed on administrative leave during or after the Channel Islands investigation.
Sonoma State University strives to hire faculty and administrators who are leaders in their field and who will provide the educational and administrative services that best serve SSU students and the greater campus community. The university works with national leadership recruitment firms in addition to our HR department to recruit and vet executive level hires. Dr. Sawyer was recruited, and his candidacy was assessed, through this process. During the hiring process, SSU was not made aware of any of Title IX allegations substantiated or pending against Dr. Sawyer.
During Dr. Sawyer’s tenure as a member of the SSU staff, our university did not receive any formal complaints concerning his behavior.
SSU takes concerns about sexual harassment very seriously. Our campus has processes in places to support individuals should they wish to report anything of this nature. Anyone wishing to come forward with a concern or a complaint about sexual harassment is encouraged to contact our Title IX Compliance Office. Resources and contact information are listed online at ophd.sonoma.edu.
SSU also recognizes that unprofessional conduct that does not constitute a Title IX violation can still cause discomfort and potentially harm an individual on the receiving end of such conduct. The university has a confidential process to support anyone who wants to bring complaints of inappropriate behavior forward. SSU is committed to maintaining a learning, living, and working environment free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual misconduct for everyone.
Judy K. Sakaki