UC Berkeley Dean Accused of Sexual Harassment Will Keep Tenure and Avoid Charges


Sujit Choudhry, the former dean of law at the University of California, Berkeley, who was at the center of an investigation into claims of sexual harassment alleged by his former assistant, will be allowed to keep his tenure, receive funding for research and avoid charges.

The Guardian reports that Choudhry reached a deal with the university that ends the disciplinary process and allows him to keep many of the perks he enjoyed prior to this sexual harassment investigation. He’ll remain a faculty member in “good standing” until he “voluntarily” resigns the following year.

Berkeleyside has further details on the settlement which sound pretty sweet for a man who admitted to sexually harassing a woman that worked for him. He’ll pay just $50,ooo to charities of Sorrell’s choosing as well as $50,00o to her lawyers. He’ll have an office on campus until the end of the year. After that’s done, he’ll take an unpaid sabbatical for a year until his resignation in 2018. The settlement also says that Choudhry won’t be able to teach in his final year, but he’ll be privy to travel reimbursements and research funding totaling over $97,000.

In March 2016, his executive assistant Tyann Sorrell alleged that once he became dean in July of 2014, he started to give her “unwanted bear hugs and kisses.” During an investigation into those charges, Choudhry allegedly admitted to “hugging, kissing, messaging or caressing Sorrell at least multiple times per week, as well as hugging and kissing other female employees.” Despite these findings, Choudhry was allowed to keep his job; the university decided to reduce his pay by 10 percent—from $472,917. to $373,500. He also had to write a letter of apology to Sorrell for what he did.

When Sorrell asked why a man who admitted to sexually harassing her and other women was allowed to keep his job, she was told by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele that it would “ruin his career.”

Choudhry has also agreed to drop the grievances he had previously filed against the university. In a statement on the settlement, Sorrell expressed her disappointment: “This deal insults all who suffer harassment at the hands of those with power and privilege.” Her lawyer, Leslie F. Levy, concurred, saying “This is just one more example of UC refusing to take sexual harassment seriously and once again offering a soft landing even after a finding of harassment.”

This post has been updated to clarify the timeframe during which the alleged sexual harassment occurred as well as Choudhry’s behavior towards other female employees.

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