Ousted Dean Sues UC

The former dean of U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall Law School sued the university last week claiming he was improperly fired and his reputation ruined after a former staff assistant accused him of sexual harassment.

Sujit Choudhry resigned in March in the face of a lawsuit by Tyann Sorrell that accused Choudhry of sexually harassing her for months, including hugging and kissing her on the cheek.

Although Choudhry and the university settled Sorrell’s complaint by agreeing to cut his pay by 10 percent for one year, requiring he provide a written apology and undergo harassment training, he sued saying the school failed to live up to the terms of the settlement.

Despite the deal, in March 2016, amid reports that the university mishandled other cases of serious sexual misconduct, Sorrell filed a civil lawsuit against the university and Choudhry. UC President Janet Napolitano ordered new disciplinary proceedings against Choudhry, for which he had already been punished, according to his lawsuit.

He was made a scapegoat, Choudhry contended and the new inquiry violated his due process rights.

He was made a pariah and repeatedly threatened will being banned from the campus, according to the lawsuit.

In addition, he accused the school of racial bias. “By targeting Professor Choudhry, who is of South Asian descent and a non-U.S. citizen, the University hopes to deflect attention from its failure to meaningfully punish Caucasian faculty and administrators who were found to have committed appalling sexual misconduct, and from the fact that it deserted Ms. Sorrell,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring the university from conducting a new discipline hearing, damages and to declare that the original settlement was valid and resolved the issue completely.

Case: Choudhry v. Regents of the University of California, No. 16-5281

 

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