On March 9, 2016, Dean Sujit Choudhry went on indefinite leave. Below are two statements on the matter:
The following statement comes from Claude Steele, UC Berkeley’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost:
Sujit Choudhry will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his position as dean of Berkeley Law, stepping down to his faculty position and salary. We will have an announcement as soon as possible about an interim replacement. Attached is the full report of the investigation conducted by the university’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.
A thorough investigation of this case found that Dean Choudhry’s behavior in this situation violated policy, and that he demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment. Based on the findings of the investigation I believed that a combination of disciplinary actions, monitoring of his behavior and formal training would be an appropriate and effective response, and would produce the necessary changes in his behavior.
I docked Choudhry’s salary as dean by 10%. I required him to immediately engage in counseling at his own expense and I instructed him to make an apology to the employee. At the same time, I granted her a fully paid administrative leave—which she is still on—and once she felt ready to return to the workplace, we supported her search to find a position on campus that meets her interests and needs.
I know we all share the goal of eliminating of sexual harassment and all forms of discriminatory behavior at UC Berkeley. I intend to listen carefully to what members of our campus community and others have to suggest when it comes to how we prevent and respond to incidents like these.
The following statement came from Dean Choudhry:
As many of you know, I have been named as a defendant, along with the University of California, in a lawsuit commenced by a member of our staff. While I disagree with the plaintiff’s claims and allegations, and will defend against them, I am unfortunately unable to comment on the substance of the lawsuit. However, I can say that I cooperated fully with, and take extremely seriously, the University’s confidential investigation into this matter and ensuing sanction. I will continue to cooperate fully with the University as matters unfold.
In light of the filing of this lawsuit, I will immediately begin a leave of absence as Dean of Berkeley Law, in order to ensure that this lawsuit does not become a distraction for the Law School, the University, and our community, whose interests I have always placed above all else.
The following statement went to the law school community from faculty at 2 pm on March 10.
Berkeley Law Faculty who attended a previously-scheduled faculty meeting today have asked the Associate Deans to release the following note to the community.
Dear Berkeley Law Community,
We know that you have been expecting to hear from us.
We learned today about allegations that have been made against Dean Choudhry and University administrators involving both sexual harassment and the institution’s response. We take these disturbing allegations extremely seriously. We emphatically condemn the type of conduct alleged in the complaint.
Our understanding is that a statement from central campus is forthcoming today, which we hope will provide more clarity. We will communicate further as soon as we know more.
Our community is much more than any one individual. Our strength lies in our brilliant and passionate students, staff, faculty, and alumni. We trust this community to work together to meet this challenge.
Molly Van Houweling
Kathleen Vanden Heuvel