Published: Sun, April 23, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

UC Berkeley settles sexual harassment suit for $1.7 million

UC Berkeley settles sexual harassment suit for $1.7 million

A woman who sued the University of California and the former Indian American dean of UC Berkeley's law school Sujit Choudhry for sexual harassment is outraged that the school is allowing him to keep his tenured professorship, she announced April 15. It concluded that Choudhry had "violated the sexual harassment provisions of the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence", and subjected him to a 10% pay cut for the year, reducing his salary to $373,500 that year.

Although the University of Berkeley found that its law dean had sexually harassed a colleague, it won't be firing him outright.

In the meantime, Choudry will keep his benefits as a tenured professor, such as travel expenses and research funding.

This behavior began after Choudhry assumed his position in 2014. Two days after filing this lawsuit, Choudhry resigned from his post as dean.

In response to the student outcry and the public's intensified magnifying glass on UC Berkeley, UC President Janet Napolitano wrote to the then-campus Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, demanding that Choudry be barred from campus for the remainder of the academic term and that the UC Berkeley Academic Senate to consider the revocation of his tenure. Her attorney, Leslie F. Levy, said Saturday that the new agreement is "just one more example of [the university] refusing to take sexual harassment seriously and once again offering a soft landing even after a finding of harassment".

Spokespersons for the regents and UC Berkeley declined to comment.

Choudhry also claimed that he was being singled out by his race and country of origin.

Choudhry is among several UC Berkeley employees since 2015 to face sexual harassment allegations that were substantiated by the university. He'll remain a faculty member in "good standing" until he "voluntarily" resigns the following year. But, like Choudhry, Fleming was given no classes to teach.

However, Choudhry dropped the lawsuit a year ago.

While the agreement was signed on March 31, it wasn't released until late Friday, when the school issued a press release containing a statement from Sorrell calling the $50,000 payment a "significant financial contribution to a number of organizations of my choice that deal with the serious issues of sexual harassment and abuse".

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