OAKLAND, Calif. – University of California president Janet Napolitano responded Sept. 21 to a lawsuit filed against her by Sujit Choudhry, former dean of UC Berkeley’s Law School, who claimed she had racially discriminated against him when she ordered a second investigation into sexual harassment allegations by his executive assistant.
During a press briefing at her office regarding new financial aid and admissions policies, Napolitano told India-West: “Without getting into the details of pending litigation, I will say that we intend to dispute that allegation vigorously.”
The UC president also stated that diversification of campus faculty was one of her primary concerns.
Choudhry, the first Indian American to head up UC Berkeley’s law school – known as Boalt Hall – filed a lawsuit Sept. 15 against Napolitano and UC Regents, alleging that racial discrimination was the motivation behind a second investigation into sexual harassment claims against him.
He was accused of sexually harassing his executive assistant Tyann Sorrell, giving her hugs and kisses on the cheek. Choudhry has admitted to kissing and hugging his assistant, but said it was non-sexual. An initial investigation found him guilty of sexual harassment.
Choudhry also claimed in the lawsuit that Napolitano had banned him from campus.
In his lawsuit, the Indian American educator alleged that professors of Caucasian descent who were accused of sexual harassment faced no punishment from the university. The tenured professor, who in March stepped down from his post as dean of the law school, has returned to campus, though he is teaching no classes.