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Berkeley Law Dean’s Accuser Bashes “Soft” Settlement Terms
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Summary: Sujit Choudhry’s accuser has blasted the slap-on-the-wrist settlement reached by her and the university. 

“It’s privilege helping privilege,” the abuse victim of the Berkeley Law dean said. A week ago, the illustrious school settled the sexual harassment she had filed last year, but she has since lashed out, expressing her dissatisfaction with the allegedly easy terms.

  
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Last week, University of California regents announced that it had settled with former UC-Berkeley Law dean, Sujit Choudhry. Choudhry had been accused of sexually harassing his former assistant, Tyann Sorrell, and according to the Los Angeles Times, he admitted during the investigation to kissing, touching, and hugging her.

As part of the legal settlement, UC dropped the disciplinary action against Choudhry and allowed him to remain a tenured faculty member until his voluntary resignation kicked in at the end of the academic year. UC allowed him to remain “in good standing” with the university, and until the end of his term, he will receive $10,000 to travel and $97,210 in research funds, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Additionally, Choudhry agreed to donate $50,000 to a charity on Sorrell’s behalf and pay $50,000 to her legal team. According to Choudhry’s attorney, Steve Herman, the settlement was agreed upon weeks ago before the announcement was made. Herman also told JD Journal that there is no admission of liability from Choudhry as part of this settlement.

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The “soft” punishments seemed to inflame Sorrell, who gave a media interview and accused Berkeley of taking it easy on Choudhry because of his status at the school.

“It’s privilege helping privilege,” Sorrell said. “For all of the work done around this issue and all of the pleas for change, it’s an insult to people who have suffered through [sexual harassment].”



Attorney Herman said he was “perplexed” by Sorrell’s reaction because she was notified of the settlement terms and had no objection at that time. Sorrell’s lawyer, Sharon Vinick, countered that Sorrell was never happy with the terms and that she had “no control” over the situation. Under this agreement, she is no longer allowed to pursue legal action.

Choudhry was accused of harassing Sorrell from September 2014 to March 2015. In response, the university cut his pay by 10% and ordered him to apologize to Sorrell and undergo behavioral therapy. However, Sorrell’s civil lawsuit became public knowledge and Choudhry was ordered to undergo a university discipline process.

Choudhry retaliated against the move and filed a racial discrimination lawsuit. The Indian-American said that the school was punishing him more than his white counterparts. In November, he dropped his lawsuit.

This is not the only high-profile sexual harassment case at Berkeley. Another prominent academic figure, philosophy professor John Searle, was accused by his former assistant Joanna Ong of sexual harassment. She said that he wanted to have sex with her, and when she refused, he demoted her and forced her to go onto sugar dating websites to find a replacement.

Ong said that when she complained to her female supervisor, she was told that the supervisor was aware of Searle’s behavior but thought it was better to just look away.

This article was corrected on 4.18.17 9:36 pm to reflect that Choudhry had not admitted to sexual harassment and that there was no admission of liability from him as part of the settlement.

Source: Los Angeles Times

What do you think of Choudhry’s settlement? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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