SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Two state lawmakers are calling for embattled Sonoma State University president Judy Sakaki to step down after a vote of no confidence by faculty amid allegations that she retaliated against a former provost who reported sexual harassment claims against her husband.
On Monday, Sens. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) echoed the faculty’s decision after 173 members voted in favor while 105 were against the no-confidence resolution.
“The faculty has spoken and it’s time for the healing process to begin. President Sakaki should step down for the greater good of the university,” a joint statement from both senators said.
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The vote of no confidence emerged in the aftermath of a scandal in which Sakaki’s husband, Patrick McCallum, was reported to have sexually harassed campus employees, prompting provost Lisa Vollendorf to file a complaint. Vollendorf alleged that Sakaki retaliated against her.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the university and Sakaki signed a settlement with the former provost, costing California State University $600,000. Sakaki reportedly retaliated against Vollendorft by making defamatory statements and withholding a letter of recommendation.
“While most of the faculty did not participate in this referendum, Dr. Sakaki is heartened by the support she received through supportive votes and continues to receive from friends on and off campus, a spokesperson for Sakai said.
“She is mindful of the concerns expressed by the majority who did vote. She has in recent days shared plans to improve Sonoma State’s Title IX programs and enforcement, improve its budgetary situation, and generate sustainable enrollment,”
“The vote is evidence that there’s work to be done to improve the tenor of conversations and sense of collaboration among all constituencies at SSU, and she is committed to that work.”