Berkeley Law School Dean Resigns Due To Sexual Harassment Complaint
On Thursday, the dean of the University of California at Berkeley law school resigned after admitting to physical contact with his executive assistant. This contact violated the school’s sexual harassment policy campus officials said.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit against Sujit Choudhry, 46, increased the scrutiny of which universities nationwide deal with allegations of rape and sexual assault.
According to a university statement, Choudhry admitted to engaging in unwanted physical contact but denies it was sexual harassment. On multiple occasions, he hugged, kissed, and held hands with his assistant. He has also admitted to touching her shoulders and arms from behind while she sat at her desk, according to a university statement. He will remain on the law school faculty for the time being.
The unnamed assistant, complained to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, and stated that Choudhry told her to perform personal tasks such as mailing mortgage documents and finding him a laundromat.
The school reported that an announcement about an interim replacement for the position of dean will be made as soon as possible.
In a statement, Choudhry denied he engaged in sexual harassment but also fully cooperated with the school in the investigation.
Choudhry said in a statement on Wednesday, ”I will immediately begin a leave of absence as Dean of Berkeley Law, in order to ensure that this lawsuit does not become a distraction for the Law School, the University, and our community”.
The school stated that Choudhry's accuser has been placed on paid leave until she is ready to return to work.
The student news paper, The Daily Californian reported the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday and it alleged Choudhry has made advances at other women at the school also.
Previous Sexual Harassment Issues
John Dwyer, a previous dean resigned in 2002, due to allegations sexual harassment from a former law student. Geoff Marcy, a UC Berkeley astronomy professor also resigned due to sexual harassment allegations, last October.