CSU San Marcos Chetan Kumar
CSU San Marcos student Cristin Taveras protests the university’s decision not to fire professor Chetan Kumar after officials found he had harassed four students. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
CSU San Marcos student Cristin Taveras protests the university’s decision not to fire professor Chetan Kumar after officials found he had harassed four students. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Cal State San Marcos has allowed a professor to keep his job after administrators concluded he harassed several students. After news of the decision broke, a small group of student protesters took up blow horns and held a rally earlier this month.

They said they’d only learned about the allegations against Chetan Kumar after reading about them in VOSD.

In a new story, Kayla Jimenez writes that the case raises tricky questions about communication on college campuses — when and how students and faculty ought to be notified about internal employment decisions. 

The university’s Title IX policy affords some privacy protections, even though the records were made public upon request. Also, Kumar did not admit fault in a settlement agreement with the university, so any announcements to the wider campus community may have been construed as a form of punishment.

In the end, Kumar was not charged with a crime, and the university determined that he hadn’t done anything worthy of dismissal (that is, after originally determining he had). But he was disciplined. And until the case was brought to the wide public, he was also planning to return to the classroom in the fall.

He’s since been reassigned, as part of a larger effort by the university to build trust. 

Homelessness Is Growing Downtown

The human misery on the streets of downtown San Diego is growing. New tents and tarps are going up, packing sidewalks and lining the sides of freeways. Dispatch calls for police to respond to people in distress downtown also went up last year, and continued to rise in the first five months of the year.

In the midst of this increasingly visible display of homelessness, Lisa Halverstadt reports that San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and other officials on Friday announced plans to later this month kick off a bolstered, weeks-long outreach effort to connect homeless San Diegans staying downtown with aid. 

Gloria said Friday that the city in coming weeks will also reopen about 300 city-funded shelter beds that had been unavailable during the pandemic due to social distancing concerns. He and Fletcher also announced plans to unveil a new initiative aimed at connecting dozens of chronically homeless San Diegans to mental health and substance use services and temporary housing. 

The announcement follows complaints from downtown business leaders and residents who have implored officials to take action before the unsanitary conditions on the streets fuel another public health crisis like the 2017 hepatitis A outbreak that left 20 people dead, including 14 homeless San Diegans.

Politics Roundup

  • Over on the podcast, our hosts lay out a number of big questions looming over the second half of the year. 
  • The passage of Prop. 22 in November was a huge victory for Uber, Doordash and other companies seeking to exempt themselves from the state’s new rules around when an employee is and isn’t a contractor. Court cases against the companies are ongoing, but prosecutors are limited in what they can accomplish. In the meantime, a survey funded by SEIU 721 suggests that most rideshare drivers are ineligible for the health care stipend created by Prop. 22. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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