Amid sexual harassment charges, University of California at Berkeley law school dean Sujit Choudhry has resigned, while the administration said it made a mistake overseeing similar allegations in July 2015. This is second in row that a famous faculty of the school resigned over sexual scandals.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Provost Claude Steele said in a statement: “We must move in the direction of stronger sanctions, and in doing this we want and need the broad input of the campus community.”
Choudhry’s admin assistant, Tyann Sorrell, complained of daily kisses by Choudhry involving “rude and demeaning” conduct, hugging and other physical conduct and in a law suit she filed in Alameda County Superior Court, said the saga was going on since he took over as dean in July 2014.
She said she would keep her arms at her sides and make her body go limp until she thought he was done and in response to his kisses she would freeze and try to pretend it did not happen. She said she has repeatedly brought the issue up to superiors, but school officials failed to act on him.
While Choudhary resigned a day after her lawsuit, the administration said, “We believe the dean’s resignation is an outcome in the best interests of Berkeley Law and the university as a whole.”
“This incident highlights UC Berkeley’s history of insulating those who perpetuate sexual violence against members of our community and the culture that allows them to thrive,” student leader Sloan Patrice Whiteside said in an open letter. On his part, Choudhry said he agreed to step aside to prevent the lawsuit from becoming a distraction to the school.
“While I disagree with the plaintiff’s claims and allegations, and will defend against them, I am unfortunately unable to comment on the substance of the lawsuit,” he said in a statement. “However, I can say that I cooperated fully with, and take extremely seriously, the University’s confidential investigation into this matter and ensuing sanction. I will continue to cooperate fully with the University as matters unfold.”
Choudhry remains a member of the faculty though until the case is completed.In 2002, another dean John Dwyer was forced to resign from his post sexual harassment allegations by a former student. Another astronomy professor resigned following similar sexual harassment claims.