Chico State Biology Professor Leaves University

Chico State biology professor David Stachura, who faced challenges, is no longer a university employee, as confirmed by a spokesperson in a brief Thursday statement.

In a two-sentence statement, spokesperson Andrew Staples did not disclose whether Stachura, who had been on paid leave for over a year, was terminated or resigned. Two investigations concerning him were nearing conclusions, with one under appeal to the chancellor’s office and another set for mediation in April.

Later contacted via phone, Staples refrained from further comments, citing privacy laws related to personnel matters.

There was no response from Stachura’s attorney, Kasra Parsad, to inquiries made on Thursday.

This conclusion to Stachura’s tenure at Chico State followed a contentious legal battle attempting to bar him from campus and an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against a colleague.

An investigation in December 2022 by EdSource revealed that Stachura was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a student, culminating in intimate encounters in his office in 2020. The disclosures led colleagues to report the situation, which Stachura has consistently denied.

Despite the affair, he faced minimal consequences and was even recognized as the “Outstanding Professor” for the 2020-21 academic year, though the title was revoked after media coverage by EdSource.

Subsequently, Stachura’s estranged wife filed court documents during their ongoing divorce proceedings, asserting that he had threatened the professors who reported him and cooperated in the university’s investigation.

Stachura, a tenured biology professor well-versed in zebra fish use for medical studies, was relieved from his faculty position, garnering positive reactions within the biology department.

Gordon Wolfe, a partly retired biology professor, expressed approval, stating, “It’s about time” and noting the department’s improved morale following Stachura’s departure.

Wolfe initially flagged the allegations made by Stachura’s wife to the university, prompting an inquiry that concluded Stachura did not pose a threat, permitting him to continue working. However, the university’s police chief, part of the investigative team, contested this finding in subsequent testimony.

Later in November, a report by a San Diego attorney disclosed that former Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson was aware of the student affair and the alleged violent threats when she supported Stachura’s promotion before her retirement.

The investigation found that the university did not breach any protocols in addressing the Stachura incidents, including the failure to notify faculty and students of the alleged campus threat of gun violence by Stachura.

State lawmakers took notice of the saga, with an Assembly committee referencing EdSource’s coverage of Stachura in a recent report highlighting concerns about student and faculty trust regarding sexual misconduct handling in compliance with Title IX federal education law.

The report suggested establishing a task force to evaluate the potential formation of a statewide office overseeing post-secondary institutions’ adherence to sex discrimination laws and mandating annual compliance reports from education system leaders on sexual misconduct cases for legislative review.

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