SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – San Jose State University president Dr. Mary Papazian announced she would resign at the end of the semester, amid ongoing fallout involving a sexual misconduct scandal in the school's athletic department.
"After thoughtful consideration, I have made the decision to step away as president," Papazian said in a statement Thursday. "I truly love this university and believe this choice will allow the focus to be positively and solely on our talented, diverse, and outstanding campus."
Papazian became the 30th president at San Jose State in 2016. According to school officials, California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro will meet with campus stakeholders before naming an interim president.
"While professionally and personally difficult, this step demonstrates her commitment to the university moving forward," Castro said.
Papazian is resigning amid allegations that top school officials covered up allegations of sexual misconduct involving former director of sports medicine Scott Shaw.
The athletic trainer resigned last year amid allegations he inappropriately touched 17 swimmers during physical therapy between 2006 to 2009. He's also accused of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct after 2017.
Officials were also accused retaliating against whistleblowers. Stephen O'Brien, former deputy director of athletics at San Jose State, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the university earlier this year.
As word spread on campus about the school president's resignation, student Katherine Veloso was not surprised.
"I definitely saw it coming at some point this semester. I've been here all four years of my college career and during that time I've heard her name a lot and usually not in the most positive light," said Veloso, who is studying public relations.
Veloso said Papazian did not move to protect students quickly enough.
"Students have been the ones to push her and ask what's going on? What are you going to do about it? I think she should have had more initiative to do that first," she told KPIX 5.
Attorney Shounak Dharap, who represents 15 student-athletes who are alleged victims, said in a statement to KPIX 5, "President Papazian's resignation indicates that, after over a decade, SJSU's administration is finally prepared to accept accountability and begin the process of reform and remediation."
The outgoing president again apologized to victims said she would continue to cooperate with an ongoing Title IX investigation and investigations involving Shaw.
"This transition does not impact our intention and obligation to understand what occurred and how the university responded at the time," Papazian said. "I made a promise to our community and to the affected student-athletes and their families, and I plan to honor it. My heart, apologies and prayers continue to be with those student-athletes who suffered a breach of trust during their time at the university."
The CSU Board of Trustees will launch a national search for a permanent president after an interim replacement for Papazian has been named.
Papazian's resignation is effective December 21.
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