Sonoma state president resigns amid retaliatory scandal

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Sonoma State University President Judy Sakaki to resign amid scandal involving reports of sexual harassment about her husband and Sakaki’s alleged retaliation against a school provost, report says Monday.

Sakaki said in a statement that she would leave on July 31, calling her tenure as college president “honorary,” the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I have made the decision to step down as President of this wonderful campus,” she said.

Sakaki, 69, has been embroiled in controversy since April, when the Press Democrat reported that the California State University system paid a $600,000 settlement to a former Sonoma state provost. The payment was intended to resolve a dispute related to sexual harassment complaints by several female university employees against Sakaki’s husband, Patrick McCallum.

Lisa Vollendorf, the provost, claimed Sakaki retaliated after reporting the complaints about McCallum to the CSU chancellor’s office in late 2018.

Sakaki, who denies any retaliation, announced her separation from McCallum on April 18.

McCallum’s behavior that made staff uncomfortable was described as persistently cuddling, staring at women’s breasts and brushing hair from their faces in an all-too-familiar way.

McCallum apologized for what he described as “gregarious” behavior.

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