Sujit Choudhry, former Berkeley Law dean ()
Five months after resigning as dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law amid a sexual harassment scandal, Sujit Choudhry is redoubling his efforts to retain his tenured position on the law faculty.
In an Aug. 1 letter to the chair of the university’s Privilege and Tenure Committee, which is investigating Choudhry’s conduct and could recommend his removal from the faculty, Choudhry argued that the inquiry is improper because he had already entered into a disciplinary agreement with the university after an internal investigation found he had sexually harassed his executive assistant. A second investigation “violates my rights to fair and equitable treatment,” Choudhry said in his letter.
The letter also urged the committee to reconsider the 11-page grievance he filed in April that sought to head off the second investigation. The committee did not follow proper procedure in dismissing that grievance and have continued to broach protocol, he wrote.
“To my knowledge, the manner in which the University has proceeded against me is unprecedented,” he wrote. “I am aware of no faculty member at the University who was subjected to multiple investigations, let alone ones a year apart, arising from the same conduct.”
A university spokesman said Thursday that the tenure committee process is confidential and only recommendations of tenure removal are made public. The chairman of the campus’ faculty senate did not respond to a request for comment on the status of the Choudhry investigation by publication. Choudhry’s letter, however, said the committee has until mid-September to complete its investigation.
Choudhry also claims that he has been kept in the dark about the investigation and who is conducting it. In the meantime, he says his career has suffered because he has honored the university’s request that he not come on campus and was denied the summer salary typically extended to law faculty.
Choudhry stepped down from the law school deanship in March, just days after his former executive assistant, Tyann Sorrell, sued him and the University of California regents. Her lawsuit made public the fact that a university investigation substantiated her claims of sexual harassment against Choudhry but administrators allowed him to keep his job while docking his pay 10 percent for a year and mandating counseling. Last week, a California judge tossed out, with leave to amend, some of the claims against the regents, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.