The embattled dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, who was sued for sexual harassment, has resigned, the school announced Thursday.
“On March 10, 2016, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks accepted the resignation of Sujit Choudhry as dean of the university’s School of Law, effective immediately,” according to a statement released by the law school Thursday afternoon.
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Chancellor Dirks and Provost Claude Steele are both quoted in the school’s statement: “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.”
University of California at Berkeley School of Law Dean Sujit Choudhry has resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment complaint, school officials announced Thursday.
Berkeley’s chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, accepted Choudhry’s resignation as dean, effective immediately. Under the University of California’s tenure policy, Choudhry remains a faculty member, and a top administrator acknowledged “legitimate criticism” of the school’s initial decision not to remove him from his position as dean.
A lawsuit was filed against Choudhry and the University of California Board of Regents with claims including sexual harassment, retaliation and failure to stop it.
Arusha Gordon, who graduated in 2013, was surprised by the allegations and by the university’s response. “I was particularly disappointed because I, like many alumni, chose Berkeley Law because the Berkeley community prides itself on its progressive values, including gender equity. To have something like this happen goes against all the values myself and other alumni hold.”
She said more than 450 alumni had signed a letter in about 24 hours calling for Choudhry’s resignation and “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 U.C. Berkeley.”
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.