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Chico State professor resigned after findings of dishonesty, retaliation

Signage at the entry of the west campus on Friday, May 22, 2020 in Chico, Calif.
Jason Halley
Chico State
Signage at the entry of the west campus on Friday, May 22, 2020 in Chico, Calif.

Chico State University was about to fire former biology professor David Stachura for dishonesty, sexual harassment and retaliation when it agreed to withdraw the charges last month in exchange for his resignation in a deal that bans him from working again in the California State University system, documents obtained by EdSource show.

In return for his resignation, Stachura dropped several appeals that were in process, including ones to the State Department of Civil Rights, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the California State University’s Chancellor’s Office, documents show.

Stachura’s lawyer, Kasra Parsad of Santa Rosa, did not respond to messages on Tuesday.

Chico State began investigating Stachura anew last year after EdSource reported in December 2022 that a previous investigation concluded in 2020 that he had an inappropriate affair with a student that included sex in his office and that court records showed he had allegedly threatened to kill two professors who cooperated in the university’s probe of the matter.

The newly released records, obtained under the state Public Records Act, show that the university found in the two separate investigations that Stachura was untruthful about his affair with the student and that he retaliated against two professors who cooperated in the investigation of that matter.

Documents described his court testimony last year when the university sought and won a workplace violence restraining order against Stachura as inconsistent with other statements about his relationship with the student.

There were “numerous important inconsistent or misleading statements by Dr. Stachura throughout the evidence,” according to a report.

“Given Dr. Stachura’s inconsistent answers, it is clear that Dr. Stachura is altering his statements regarding his relationship with (the student) to suit his needs at any given moment,” Scott Lynch, the university’s director of labor relations wrote in an Aug. 24, 2023, report.

A separate investigation found Stachura retaliated against two professors who cooperated in the sex investigation.

Title IX investigator Gloria Godinez wrote in a 45-page report dated Aug. 24, 2023, that a witness said Stachura said the two professors were “going against him,” that he referred to them as “f—— bitches,” said he “hated” them, and “often ranted about the investigation.”

The professors described Stachura as often glaring at them, blasting loud music they could hear through office walls, and going against their positions in meetings. Another witness told the investigator Stachura talked “about being a troll, an annoyance.”

“Stachura took every opportunity he could to discredit” the professors, Godinez wrote.

The settlement agreement between Stachura and Chico State also shows the university dropped a court claim that Stachura owed it more than $64,000 in legal fees for the defense of a biology lecturer that Stachura sued for libel last year. A judge threw out the suit last year and ruled that Stachura was responsible for legal fees. “The university will not enforce the judgment,” the settlement states.

The workplace violence restraining order that a Butte County Superior Court judge issued last year that bans Stachura from the university for three years will remain in place. Stachura has appealed the order to the state 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. No date for oral arguments has been set, according to court records. The parties agreed to abide by whatever decision the appeals court issues.

The university will also remove 5,466 pages of investigative and disciplinary documents from Stachura’s personnel files and will respond to any reference or employment-check requests by only providing his dates of employment, salary and job title.

“Chico State entered into this settlement agreement only after careful consideration and in consultation with the CSU,” a spokesman, Andrew Staples, wrote in an email Tuesday. “This settlement puts an immediate end to what has been a lengthy personnel matter and is the best path forward for the university and our campus community.”

The agreements also make it clear that Stachura will not teach in the 23-campus CSU system again. Stachura agreed “to never apply for or accept employment with any campuses of the California State University or their auxiliary organizations,” the document states. “If the university or its auxiliary organizations inadvertently offer Stachura a position, (or) Stachura breaches this agreement by accepting a position with the university or its auxiliary organizations Stachura shall be terminated.”

Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter at EdSource. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter.
EdSource believes that access to a quality education is an important right of all children. We further believe that an informed, involved public is necessary to strengthen California’s schools for the benefit of the state’s children, its civic life, and its economy.