The Daily California, Dean of Campus Law School Takes Leave of Absence From Position After Allegations of Sexual Harassment Arise:
Sujit Choudhry will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his position as dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, but will remain a faculty member of the school, amid allegations of sexual harassment.
According to a statement issued Wednesday by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele, based on the findings of an investigation of the allegations of sexual harassment, the campus determined that Choudhry’s behavior violated the university’s sexual harassment policies.
On Tuesday, Choudhry — as well as the UC Board of Regents — was sued by Choudhry’s executive assistant, Tyann Sorrell, for alleged sexual harassment, including hugging, kissing or caressing Sorrell at least multiple times per week, among other allegations. The lawsuit states that after Choudhry became dean of the law school in July 2014, Choudhry began making unwanted sexual contact with Sorell until March 2015. “(Choudhry) demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment,” Steele said in the statement.
The investigation conducted by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination found in July that Choudhry “demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment,” according to the statement from Steele. Steele said in the statement that he believed a combination of “disciplinary actions, monitoring of his behavior and formal training would be an appropriate and effective response, and would produce the necessary changes in his behavior.” After the investigation, Steele docked Choudhry’s salary as dean by 10 percent for one year. In addition, Steele mandated Choudhry’s participation in counseling at the dean’s own expense and instructed him to issue a letter of apology to Sorrell.
Sorrell alleged in the complaint that Steele told her that he had “seriously considered terminating the Dean” but had decided not to because “it would ruin the Dean’s career.”
In 2002, John Dwyer resigned as Dean of UC-Berkeley Law School in the face of allegations that he had sexually harassed a law student.
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