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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Biology professor David Stachura resigns

After being on paid leave since Dec. 9, 2023, biology professor David Stachura resigned on Feb. 14
Chico State, David Stachura. Photo credit Chico State

Last month, documents obtained from EdSource revealed that an agreement was reached between Chico State and biology professor David Stachura. The university was preparing to fire Stachura for dishonesty, sexual harassment and retaliation. 

Stachura will drop appeals with the State Department of Civil Rights, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the California State University’s Chancellor’s Office. The resignation agreement bars him from future employment with the California State University system. 

A 2020 investigation found Stachura violated Chico State’s sexual conduct policy by engaging in sexual relations with a graduate student. 

After reaching a settlement with the university — which kept the investigation out of his personal file — Stachura was able to reapply for and receive tenure and  the 2020-2021 “Outstanding Professor” award. 

Chico State political science student Ava Fuentes said by granting him tenure and the award, the university effectively condoned his inappropriate behavior. 

In June 2021, Stachura’s estranged wife Miranda King, in seeking a restraining order, alleged that Stachura had purchased firearms and ammunition intending to retaliate against his testifying colleagues. 

According to members of the biological sciences faculty, Stachura threatened them directly for their cooperation in the investigation. Stachura denied all allegations of violence. 

Chico State put Stachura on paid administrative leave while they investigated the threat allegations. 

Chico State hired a third party to investigate the threat Stachura posed to the campus community. 

The third party found that due to the inconsistencies in Stachura’s stories, and the synchronicity of witness testimonies, “… it may be appropriate to conclude that [Stachura] does pose an unacceptable risk of violence to the workplace.” 

Stachura was allowed to return to work shortly after the report filing. 

Following an uproar from the Chico State community after EdSource’s report that detailed the university’s “light” punishment of Stachura’s threats toward staff members, Chico State suspended Stachura. 

Chico State economics student Tommy Hubbard echoed Fuentes by emphasizing the events that unfolded after the initial sexual misconduct violations could have been prevented earlier if the initial Title lX violation had been “adequately” addressed by the university. 

“Settling cases doesn’t erase the damage done,” Hubbard said. ” Accountability with real consequences is needed to restore trust among our administrators.” 

In September 2023, Stachura was barred from entering campus via a workplace violence restraining order granted by the Butte County Superior Court. Stachura has appealed the order to the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. 

According to the resignation agreement, both parties will abide by whatever decision the appeals court issues. 

Former Stachura colleague and biological sciences professor David Keller said however that “for some people, this is not over … [Stachura] told his wife he had a long memory,” indicating that his colleagues still felt the threat of violence. 

Chico State Public Relations manager Andrew Staples declined to comment whether the university would take further precautionary measures pending the outcome of Stachura’s appeal. 

Through the Cozen O’Connor report and implementation team, Chico State has revamped its capacity to address future Title lX violations. As Keller pointed out, Title lX encourages individuals to report wrongful behavior, yet when the alleged perpetrator retaliates, there is no further protection. 

This event has garnered the attention of state lawmakers who, in a report earlier this year, found that students and faculty do not trust institutional dealings with sexual misconduct matters governed by Title lX federal education law.

These lawmakers recommended that a state-level task force be formed to ensure proper handling of these matters. 

When asked if Chico State would support oversight from a state-level task force, Staples iterated Chico State’s openness “to all ideas, funding and thoughts for making a safer community for everyone.” 

Keller believes the University has done all it can at this point. 

Stachura’s lawyer, Kasra Parsad, has not responded to requests for comment.

Shane Aweeka can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Shane Aweeka
Shane Aweeka, Reporter
Shane Aweeka is a senior at Chico State, scheduled to graduate this May with a bachelor's degree in public administration and a minor in international relations. In September, Shane will begin working towards his master's in the Netherlands in a program focused on global political economy or international politics. He looks forward to contributing to The Orion’s efforts this upcoming semester and developing an understanding and appreciation for the art of journalism. Outside of school and work you can find him skiing or surfing.

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