National News

Ex-Berkeley law school dean sues over sex harassment probe

Posted September 15

— The former dean of the University of California, Berkeley law school filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing school officials of singling him out because of his race for a second investigation of sexual harassment allegations.

The University of California treated white faculty members and administrators found to have committed sexual misconduct more leniently while threatening him with a campus ban and loss of tenure, Sujit Choudhry said in the federal discrimination lawsuit filed in San Francisco.

Choudhry, who is South Asian, resigned as dean in March amid faculty outrage that he had been allowed to remain in his position after a campus investigation substantiated sexual harassment allegations from his executive assistant.

Choudhry's assistant, Tyann Sorrell, alleged in a lawsuit that same month that her boss kissed, hugged and touched her repeatedly but was punished only with a temporary pay cut and orders to undergo counseling following a campus investigation.

A written report from Berkeley's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination concluded that Choudhry's behavior had violated campus sex harassment policies.

In his lawsuit, Choudhry said the University of California opened a second investigation of him for the same conduct after Sorrell filed the lawsuit and reports it had mishandled cases of serious sexual misconduct.

The lawsuit names the University of California regents and university president Janet Napolitano. It seeks unspecified damages and a court order stopping the second disciplinary process.

A telephone message seeking comment from the University of California was not immediately returned.

Choudhry is among several UC Berkeley employees since 2015 to face sexual harassment allegations substantiated by UC Berkeley's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.

His lawsuit said the purpose of the second investigation was to distract from the university's failure to punish white faculty and administrators found to have committed "appalling sexual misconduct."

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