UC Berkeley documents show history of sexual harassment violations
Nineteen employees – including six faculty members – at the University of California at Berkeley have violated the school’s sexual harassment policy since 2011, according to detailed public records released amid an outcry over how the school has handled claims of sexual harassment.
Add assistant men’s basketball coach Yann Hufnagel’s sudden resignation Thursday to the list, and 12 of the accused have been fired or resigned.
The misconduct cases, 17 in total, range from former Law School Dean Sujit Choudhry’s, who is charged with repeatedly kissing, hugging and rubbing the arms of a former executive assistant, to Cal Dining manager Jeffrey Topacio’s, who is charged with comparing his penis to a 12-inch kitchen knife in front of colleagues and using homophobic slurs in 2015, according to the documents released on Tuesday.
Three of the six accused faculty members, including Choudhry and former Vice Chancellor for Research Graham Fleming, remain under tenure and employed by the university.
Choudhry had resigned as dean in March, reported the The Daily Californian; the resignation came a day after an announcement that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence.
Fleming was terminated in March from his role as a Berkeley Global Campus ambassador after allegations arose that he sexually harassed colleague Diane Leite, inappropriately touching her and sending affectionate emails. He currently supervises several independent study courses and remains on campus as a chemistry professor, the Daily Cal reports.
When a professor is tenured, university spokesperson Dan Mogulof tells USA TODAY College, the process for removal is decided by the UC Board of Regents rather than the individual university.
* * *
On March 24, the university announced the formation of the Chancellor’s Committee on Sexual Violence, Harassment and Assault, which is scheduled to report to the president and chancellor by October 15, 2016, according to a statement emailed to USA TODAY College from the university. The committee will begin reviewing the university’s policies next week, Mogulof said.
On Thursday, the UC Berkeley faculty held an emergency meeting on handling sexual harassment where 20 faculty members offered criticism of the administration or advice regarding the redress of reporting procedures and sanction processes, reported the The Daily Californian.
Also on Thursday, UC President Janet Napolitano told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s 2016. Enough is enough. We’re not shying away from these issues, we’re acknowledging them, addressing them, fixing them. Californians have a right to be proud of us, and we want to work to maintain that.”