Hundreds of pages of records — 17 total reports involving accusations against 19 employees, to be exact — dating back to seven years have revealed a disturbing history of cover-ups and poor handling of sexual harassment and assault cases at University of California, Berkeley.
"We have been quite explicit in our acknowledgement that we must do a better job and we must improve our policies, practices and cultures," university spokesman Dan Mogulof said. He added that the school has taken steps to address the problems, including providing more resources to the office that investigates claims of sexual misconduct.
Eleven employees at Berkeley have been fired or resigned so far; none of them are tenured professors. Three of the faculty members mentioned in the report are still working at the university.
Over the past few months staff members like astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, adjunct faculty member Howard D’Abrera and Sujit Choudhry, the dean of the law school, resigned in the wake of such reports.
The disciplinary actions, however, leave much to be desired. Swim coach Todd Mulzet allegedly harassed a male co-worker for months on end but the complaint resulted only in a pay cut.
Dean Choudhry’s resignation came long after the accusations were made against him. Initially he was only penalized with a 10 percent pay cut for a year and was required to apologize and receive counseling. Even after his resignation, he continues to get a $284,000 salary as a professor.
“I’m shocked at what appears to have been a deliberate suppression of years of sexual abuse and harassment information on the part of executive level at UC Berkeley,” says Tyann Sorrell, a former UC Berkeley law school assistant who is suing over alleged harassment by Choudhry.
“Like the Catholic Church, they’ve hidden the problem,” says Sorrell’s attorney John Winer. “Why is it that it took a (public records) request to turn up an additional 12 findings of sexual harassment that we didn’t know about?”
Sadly, this does not surprise me in the slightest. V disappointed at the way they handle campus sexual assault https://t.co/F8yquy9zaD— Florence Lee (@flrnclee) April 7, 2016
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Noah Berger