|How could anyone believe such things?|
March 18, 2016, Courtney Kueppers, Chonicle of Higher Education
While he was under investigation last May for sexual harassment, the dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s law school, Sujit Choudhry, urged his colleagues to approve the appointment of the university’s provost to the law school, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In a May 29 email to his colleagues on the law faculty, Mr. Choudry asked them to support the appointment of the provost, Claude M. Steele, a social psychologist, through “an online vote rather than the traditional process of at least two meetings with the candidate,” the newspaper reports.
Mr. Steele has been criticized for imposing a punishment regarded as too lenient on Mr. Choudhry last summer, after the dean, who resigned last week, was found responsible for sexually harassing his executive assistant. His pay was cut by 10 percent, he was required to attend counseling, and he was ordered to write a letter of apology to the assistant, Tyann Sorrell.
Mr. Choudhry remained dean until specifics of the case and the punishment came to light last week in a lawsuit filed by Ms. Sorrell. He remains on the law school’s faculty, but Berkeley has announced plans to open disciplinary proceedings that could result in his dismissal.
It is unclear whether Mr. Steele knew that Mr. Choudry was under investigation while seeking the law-school appointment, according to the Times.
The appointment was approved by the law-school faculty last June but was meant to be inactive, without pay or law-school obligations, “presumably until Steele stepped down from his administrative duties and began teaching and researching again,” the newspaper reports.
Mr. Steele resigned from the law-school position this month. But amid scattered calls on Friday for his resignation as provost, both Nicholas B. Dirks, chancellor of the Berkeley campus, and Janet Napolitano, president of the university system, issued strong statements in support of Mr. Steele. In fact, Mr. Dirks said, the law-school appointment was his idea.
And the notion that Mr. Steele had been lenient with Mr. Choudhry in return for a faculty appointment is “absolutely untrue,” Mr. Dirks wrote.
In her statement, Ms. Napolitano described Mr. Steele as “an eminent scholar” and declared that “the relevance of his pathbreaking interdisciplinary work, reflected in his appointments in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, to legal issues made him a valuable addition to the law-school faculty.”
Totally unbelievable and absolutely untrue, of course: (Won't play in iPhone.)