CSU Chancellor Castro resigns


Kimberly Morales

California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro in Colusa Hall on Nov. 2.

California State University’s first Hispanic chancellor, Dr. Joseph Castro, resigned effective immediately on Feb. 17 after less than two years in office. 

Castro has been at the center of controversy after USA Today launched an investigation into his alleged mishandling of sexual assault accusations during his tenure as president of Fresno State. 

“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 CSU press release. “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.” 

Steve Relyea, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, will replace Castro until a new interim chancellor has been chosen — a succession plan is still being planned.

The CSU Board of Trustees plans to launch an initiative aiming to “strengthen institutional culture across the largest public four-year system of higher education and bring CSU to the forefront of Title IX innovation, accountability and response.”

Castro was hired in September 2020 and formally started his tenure as chancellor of the CSU in January 2021. He spent 23 years working in the CSU system, as vice chancellor of student academic affairs and as professor at a number of University of California campuses like San Francisco, Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara.

Castro first became president of Fresno State in 2013. He spent seven years there before retiring on Dec. 30, 2020.


Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson told Orion staff that she welcomes the independent, system wide assessment of Title IX that the Board of Trustees announced yesterday — Ensuring a safe, equitable and supportive learning and working environment for our students, faculty and staff.

“[This mission] is a solemn responsibility that we strive to fulfill each day at Chico State,” Hutchinson said.

“The news from the California State University Chancellor’s Office does not change Chico State’s focus on student success,” Hutchinson said. “We are moving forward with our mission of providing equitable educational opportunities for all students to become the thinkers and leaders of the future.”

Ava Norgrove and Melvin Bui can be reached at [email protected].