Thursday, March 10, 2016

Choudhry resigns as Dean- remains professor - amid harassment scandal

See KTVU catch up with Chancellor Dirks and get their camera blocked -Was that an Associate Chancellor who blocked the lens of the camera stationed on the sidewalk of Bancroft Ave., or ?:


Washington Post points out:

"While the situation was unfolding, the law school was welcoming admitted students for a weekend introducing them to the school."

And includes the alumni letter and other letters like the apology letter:


"On Thursday, through his attorney, Choudhry issued a statement:

"Earlier today, I tendered my resignation from the position of Dean of UC Berkeley Law School, effective immediately. I took this step because the pending lawsuit, against the university and me, appears to have become a distraction for the law school, the university and our community, an outcome I had hoped could be avoided.

I have received many requests to respond to, or comment on, the allegations that are the subject of the pending lawsuit. On my counsel’s advice – and in order to have this case tried in a court of law, and not in the press – I am refraining from doing so at this juncture. I will defend, in the litigation, against the claims and allegations made against me. I respectfully ask that fair-minded persons understand that there are two sides to every narrative, and that the university and I should have an opportunity to mount a full defense in court, the only forum in which the claims and allegations against us can be fairly adjudicated."


Sorrell’s attorney sent a copy of a note he said was sent from Choudhry to Sorrell. See WaPo link above to view it


"On Thursday evening, as the resignation was announced, Steele sent out another statement."

"We believe the dean’s resignation is an outcome in the best interests of Berkeley Law and the university as a whole. At the same time we are under no illusion that a resignation could or even should bring this matter and broader, related issues to a close. It is clear, as we heard during our meeting with law school faculty this morning, that the initial decision not to remove the dean from his position is the subject of legitimate criticism.

We can and must do better as a campus administration. We must move in the direction of stronger sanctions, and in doing this we want and need the broad input of the campus community."

We are sharply focused on this issue and committed to ensuring a supportive and safe environment for every single person on this campus. We will act quickly to generate action that will produce lasting change in our culture and practices.

Tomorrow we will be reaching out to faculty leaders for their help in quickly putting all of these commitments into motion."

Students also issued a written statement

Faculty who attended a previously scheduled meeting Thursday wrote a message to the law school community: see WaPo link above for that...

"Here is the full text of the letter from alumni:

President Napolitano, Chancellor Dirks, members of the Board of Regents, and members of the Berkeley Law Faculty and Administration:

As proud alumni of the UC Berkeley School of Law, we were shocked and dismayed to learn that Dean Sujit Choudhry sexually harassed his executive assistant, Tyann Sorrell, less than 15 years after Dean John Dwyer resigned in another sexual harassment scandal. Even more disappointing are the university and law school’s responses and seeming complicity in continuing Choudhry’s employment after the university’s own investigation confirmed the truth of these violations. In short, this feeble response has betrayed students, the UC Berkeley community, Boalt alumni, and the values that we hold dear.

It has been reported that Choudhry admitted in summer 2015 to hugging, kissing, and making other inappropriate and unwanted contact with multiple women on staff. Despite the university’s findings consistent with these admissions, the university punished him with only a one-year, 10 percent salary reduction and required that he write a simple letter of apology to the survivor (a penalty alleged in the complaint to have been driven by the university’s concern with ameliorating any harm to his career and advancement). The university’s response is a complete and utter failure of UC Berkeley and the school of law to condemn sexual harassment in its community. In 2014, Choudhry’s total compensation was $472,917. This suggests that the university values a female employee’s safety and well-being only to the extent of $47,000. And, of course, the financial penalty — none of which appears to have gone to the survivor — does nothing to adequately protect current and future survivors of sexual harassment and create an inclusive, welcoming culture for all law school students, faculty, and staff.

A leading institution of legal education — one that fashions itself on the cutting edge of progressive legal education — must do more. As alumni, we demand it. As Chancellor Dirks reminded the entire campus in 2014, “sexual assault has no place on a college campus or anywhere in civilized society.” Generations of Berkeley Law students, many of them women and particularly women of color, have worked tirelessly to recruit a more diverse faculty and create a more inclusive environment for the study of law. UC Berkeley, and in particular the law school, is an institution that prides itself on commitment to gender equity and social justice, which is the reason many of us specifically chose to attend Berkeley Law. Law school deans should model the values of the school that they represent. Moreover, Boalt’s dean should and must be someone that faculty, staff, and students feel comfortable and safe approaching with questions and concerns and as a leader that the entire legal academy and profession looks to with admiration.

In light of Choudhry’s violation of multiple women at the law school, the notion that he could continue to hold the position of dean is unreasonable, laughable, and insulting — not only to the women in the Berkeley community, but also to the values that brought us to Boalt, values that tie generations of alumni together. Given his behavior and the impact it would undoubtedly have on his ability to effectively connect with and serve the law school community, he was entirely unfit to hold the position of dean. That the university and the law school had not already reached this conclusion is, quite frankly, alarming.

We demand the immediate termination of Sujit Choudhry. We also demand that the university initiate an independent, external investigation into the handling of this incident and related incidents over the years that suggest larger, systemic issues in the handling of sexual harassment and assault at UC Berkeley. The professional advancement of faculty or staff who have admitted to engaging in sexual harassment must never again take precedence over the best interests of the survivors and the larger Berkeley and Boalt communities.

As long as Choudhry remains at Boalt or the University of California in any capacity, we cannot in good conscience contribute financially to Berkeley Law or to the university. Nor are we comfortable encouraging prospective students to attend Boalt. Let us be clear: We cherished our time at Boalt and consider its faculty members and students to be mentors and friends to this day, and we thus make these demands with heavy hearts. But we cannot recommend our alma mater when it apparently allows a confessed repeat harasser to hold its highest position of power and the university appears to aid him in covering up such blatant misconduct.

We await your prompt, full, and satisfactory response to this situation."

SF Gate: UC Berkeley law dean Choudhry resigns amid harassment scandal

"Despite the dean’s resignation, he will continue to be paid $284,000 as a professor."

... "Mogulof, a campus spokesman. He said he did not know if the campus will seek Choudhry’s termination. Whether he will teach is “to be determined,” Mogulof said."

"Students ‘outraged’
"Law students delivered a letter of rebuke to the chancellor’s office, saying: “We are outraged and disgusted by the university’s deliberate withholding of information concerning the safety of students, staff and faculty.” They expressed solidarity with Sorrell and announced a “vote of no confidence” with the administration.""
And, Business Insider details alumni and student reaction as well as:

UC Berkeley Law School dean resigns after executive assistant accuses him of 'unwelcome touching and kissing'

"Sorrell said the behavior occurred multiple times daily, while, in the course of the investigation, Choudhry stated that the behavior occurred "no more than once or twice a week.""
-But yesterday there was coverage that said there is disagreement not just over frequency but also over whether the physical gestures were sexual in nature,etc. See local coverage in previous post.

..."written report on its findings, released by the university in a redacted form on Wednesday, states that Mr. Choudhry “does not dispute that the conduct occurred since he started his job. … The only disagreement is how often the conduct occurred.”"

"The assistant, who was not named in a 12-page investigative report from the school's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, also complained that Choudhry directed her to perform personal tasks on his behalf, such as mailing mortgage documents and find him a laundromat."

The claim of waiting for limo pickups for him (at College and Bancroft intersection) as being a space where this alleged behavior took place -even then, there...while waiting for the limousine...that was quite a passage--
But the non response of her superiors she reported it to, well, if true- revulsion.

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