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Berkeley Settles Suits With Law Dean and Assistant Who Accused Him of Harassment

Updated (4/15/2017, 8:10 p.m.) with further comment from Ms. Sorrell.

The University of California at Berkeley has settled lawsuits with Sujit Choudhry, a former law-school dean, and Tyann Sorrell, a former executive assistant who accused him of repeatedly sexually harassing her, the Associated Press reports.

Under the terms of the settlement — which was reached in March but not disclosed until Friday — Mr. Choudhry will pay $50,000 to Ms. Sorrell’s lawyers and another $50,000 to a charity of her choice. Mr. Choudhry, who resigned in March 2016 after Ms. Sorrell sued, will be placed on an unpaid sabbatical through May 2018, when his resignation takes effect.

Ms. Sorrell accused Mr. Choudhry of making unwanted sexual advances and contact over a period of roughly nine months in 2014 and 2015. After a university investigation confirmed her allegations, Mr. Choudhry received a 10-percent pay cut and was required to undergo counseling and write a letter of apology to the executive assistant.

But Ms. Sorrell then filed a civil suit against the university and Mr. Choudhry, arguing that Berkeley’s punishment had been insufficient. The former dean, in turn, sued the university system, arguing that it had unfairly singled him out by opening a second investigation into the harassment allegations.

Facing fierce criticism for its handling of a string of high-profile accusations — including complaints against Mr. Choudhry and the prominent astronomer Geoffrey W. Marcy — Berkeley announced a set of new approaches in 2016 to curtail sexual misconduct among faculty and staff members. In a statement on Friday, Ms. Sorrell commended the university for reviewing its polices on harassment. But the following day, the AP reported, Ms. Sorrell said that the deal, by preserving Mr. Choudhry’s tenure until his resignation takes effect, “insults all who suffer harassment at the hands of those with power and privilege.”

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