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UC Berkeley Law Lets Sujit Choudhry Off Easy for Sexual Harassment Claim
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Sujit Choudhry

Summary: University of California, Berkeley, law school dean Sujit Choudhry was accused of sexually harassing a former assistant but will be able to keep his status at the school.

The University of California, Berkeley, is going easy on their former law school dean Sujit Choudhry after a former assistant accused him of sexual harassment. After an investigation into the claims and his admittance to hugging and kissing assistant Tyann Sorrell, the school has decided to let Choudhry keep his tenure, receive funding and avoid charges for the harassment.


The Guardian reported that a deal was reached between Choudhry and the school that will terminate the disciplinary process and allow the former dean to enjoy many of the same perks while an active member of the school. These perks include remaining in “good standing” until he “voluntarily” resigns in another year. The deal with Sorrell requires Choudhry to pay $50,000 to a charity of Sorrell’s choosing and $50,000 to her lawyers. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, there is no admission of sexual harassment or liability, and he will get to keep an office on campus until the end of the year. Then he will take an unpaid sabbatical for one year that will result in his own resignation. While Choudhry will not be able to teach during his final year, he will be able to claim travel reimbursements and research funding for up to $97,000. Choudhry will also drop the grievances he filed against the university.

Sorrell stepped forward just over a year ago, claiming that Choudhry started to give her “unwanted bear hugs and kisses” in September 2014, after he became dean in July 2014. An investigation ensued where Choudhry was accused of hugging and kissing Sorrell. Choudhry was accused of these actions during the investigation, yet the dean was allowed to keep his job with a small 10 percent reduction to his salary, which was a drop from $472,917 to $373,500. He was also required to write a letter of apology to Sorrell for his inappropriate behavior.

Sorrell questioned why he was allowed to keep his job despite being of accused of sexually harassing her. The response from Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele was that it would “ruin his career” to fire him.

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In a statement Sorrell released, she said, “This deal insults all who suffer harassment at the hands of those with power and privilege.” Her lawyer, Leslie F. Levy concurred, “This is just one more example of UC refusing to take sexual harassment seriously and once again offering a soft landing even after a finding of harassment.”

Standing up to a superior is intimidating for many, regardless of the gender of those involved. How would you let your powerful boss know that what their behavior is making you uncomfortable? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about more about the case, read these articles:


This article was corrected on 4-20-17 7:57 am to reflect that Choudhry had not admitted to sexual harassment or liability and that the two separate payments of $50,000 will be made as a part of the settlement with Sorrell, along with some other minor corrections.


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