The former dean of UC Berkeley’s law school filed a lawsuit Thursday, accusing school officials of singling him out because of his race for a second investigation of sexual harassment allegations.
In the federal discrimination suit filed in San Francisco, Sujit Choudhry said the UC system treated white faculty members and administrators found to have committed sexual misconduct more leniently while threatening him with a ban from campus and loss of tenure.
Choudhry, who is South Asian, resigned as dean in March amid faculty outrage that he had been allowed to remain in his position after a campus investigation substantiated sexual harassment allegations by his executive assistant.
The assistant, Tyann Sorrell, alleged in a lawsuit that same month that her boss had kissed, hugged and touched her repeatedly but was punished with only a temporary pay cut and orders to undergo counseling after the investigation.
A written report from UC Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination concluded that Choudhry’s behavior had violated campus sexual harassment policies.
In his lawsuit, Choudhry said officials opened a second investigation of the same allegations of misconduct after Sorrell filed the lawsuit and reports surfaced that the UC system had mishandled cases of serious sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit names the University of California regents and system President Janet Napolitano. It seeks unspecified damages and a court order stopping the second disciplinary process.
A request seeking comment from the University of California was not returned Thursday.
Choudhry is among several Berkeley employees since 2015 to face sexual harassment allegations substantiated by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. His lawsuit says the purpose of the second investigation was to distract from the university’s failure to punish white faculty and administrators found to have committed “appalling sexual misconduct.”