University statement regarding media coverage of a personnel matter

April 14, 2022
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Recent media coverage of Sonoma State University has raised questions about a personnel matter involving former Provost Dr. Lisa Vollendorf.

During her three-year tenure as our Provost, Dr. Vollendorf championed student, faculty, and staff success at Sonoma State University. Dr. Vollendorf also served the CSU through a special assignment in the CSU Chancellor's Office from June 2020 to June 2021. Out of respect for Dr. Vollendorf's privacy, the University will not comment on the particular circumstances of Dr. Vollendorf's departure. We do, however, offer the following context.   

The media reported that Dr. Vollendorf believes she experienced retaliation due to her reporting Title IX complaints about President Sakaki's spouse. These claims are without basis. CSU policy and federal and state law, as well as good judgment and common sense, prohibit retaliation against anyone bringing forward or participating in a complaint or complaint process. President Sakaki has devoted the last 40 years to championing equity and justice in higher education, and the CSU and President Sakaki deny that any retaliation occurred. The CSU entered into a settlement with Dr. Vollendorf so that campus leaders could devote their energy, resources, and efforts on what matters most, serving students and leading Sonoma State through and beyond the pandemic. The University has liability insurance coverage which is used to pay these kinds of legal settlements.

The complaints about President Sakaki's spouse were addressed in April 2019, and no similar complaints have been reported to the Chancellor's Office or Sonoma States' Title IX Office since that time. CSU policy does not limit the time for making complaints, and if any individuals now wish to participate in a formal investigation of these complaints, they are encouraged to discuss their concerns and options with CSU Title IX professional staff identified below. Alternatively, any member of the university community may meet with a confidential victim's advocate to discuss their rights and options.

Sonoma State University and President Sakaki will never stop working to make our campus a safe, supportive, respectful, and fair working and learning environment for all. There are many processes in place to support individuals who wish to report any concerns. Anyone wishing to come forward with a concern or complaint or to learn about university complaint and resolution processes, including rights and options, is encouraged to contact the following campus or Chancellor's Office resources.    

  • The SSU Title IX Compliance Office can be reached at 707-664-4140 and via email at

  • The SSU Victim's Advocate can be reached at 707-664-2698 and via email at

  • The DHR Administrator for other civil rights type complaints is Julie Vivas, Title IX Officer and Senior Director of the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination 707-664-2480

  • The SSU Human Resources Whistleblower contact is Erin Taylor, Director of Employee and Labor Relations 707-664-2212

  • The CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Office can be reached at 562-951-4641 and via email at

  • The CSU Systemwide Whistleblower contact at the Equal Opportunity and Whistleblower Compliance Unit, Systemwide Human Resources, CSU Chancellor's Office 562-951-4425

Media Contact

Julia Gonzalez