Chico State professor steps down following reports of dishonesty and retaliation

Chico State University had imminent plans to terminate former biology professor David Stachura over allegations of dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation. However, it opted to drop the charges last month in a deal that necessitated his resignation. The agreement stipulates that Stachura is barred from seeking employment within the California State University system going forward, state records obtained by EdSource reveal.

In exchange for his resignation, Stachura abandoned several ongoing appeals, including those with the State Department of Civil Rights, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and the California State University’s Chancellor’s Office, as per the documents.

Efforts to reach Stachura’s attorney, Kasra Parsad of Santa Rosa, remained unanswered as of Tuesday.

Chico State initiated a renewed investigation into Stachura last year following a previous inquiry that concluded in 2020. The investigation had exposed an inappropriate relationship between Stachura and a student, involving sexual encounters in his office. Moreover, court records indicated that Stachura allegedly issued death threats to two professors who assisted in the university’s probe into the matter.

Recent findings, disclosed through documents obtained under the state Public Records Act, revealed that Stachura was untruthful about his relationship with the student and that he engaged in retaliatory actions against the cooperating professors in two separate investigations.

Notably, Stachura’s court testimony last year, which led to a workplace violence restraining order issued against him by the university, was highlighted for its inconsistencies with his prior statements regarding the student affair.

A report cited numerous inconsistencies and misleading remarks made by Stachura throughout the proceedings, pointing out his tendency to adjust statements as per his convenience at various junctures.

“Given Dr. Stachura’s inconsistent answers, it is clear that Dr. Stachura is altering his statements,” noted Scott Lynch, the university’s director of labor relations, in a report dated August 24, 2023.

Another investigation confirmed that Stachura had retaliated against the professors who cooperated in the previous sexual misconduct inquiry.

The Title IX investigator, Gloria Godinez, documented Stachura’s disparaging remarks about the professors and his hostile behavior towards them. Witnesses reported instances of Stachura discrediting the professors, creating a hostile environment through aggressive conduct.

The settlement agreement between Stachura and Chico State also resolved a dispute over legal fees and an outstanding court claim. Additionally, it reiterated the workplace violence restraining order that bars Stachura from the university premises for three years.

Stachura has lodged an appeal against the restraining order, moving the case to the state 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. The settlement agreement specified that both parties would abide by the court’s decision on the matter.

Furthermore, Stachura’s personnel files will be purged of 5,466 pages of investigative and disciplinary documents. Future employment inquiries about Stachura will be limited to providing only essential job details.

In a statement, university spokesman Andrew Staples expressed that the settlement agreement was reached after careful deliberation and consultation with the CSU, emphasizing the need to resolve a prolonged personnel issue.

The agreements firmly stipulate that Stachura is permanently barred from teaching within the California State University system, emphasizing penalties in case of breaching the agreement.

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