Sunday, November 13, 2016

Stay Tuned: Another Sexual Harassment Case Seems to be Brewing at Berkeley

From the San Francisco Chronicle: A renowned Middle East scholar and architecture professor at UC Berkeley spent months ingratiating himself with a graduate student before placing his hand on her upper thigh, proposing they become “close friends” and suggesting they go to Las Vegas, a campus investigation has found.

Nezar AlSayyad, an internationally recognized scholar and a frequent public voice on global issues, is the latest prominent faculty member at UC Berkeley found to have sexually harassed a student or colleague in violation of University of California rules, The Chronicle has learned.

A five-month investigation completed in October upheld nearly all of the student’s allegations. The 52-page report obtained by The Chronicle found that AlSayyad’s behavior became increasingly personal from 2012 to 2014, with frequent social invitations and hugs, as he sought to position himself as the student’s protector and make her beholden to him.

The conduct “can be seen as an attempt to ‘groom’ (the student) for the possibility of becoming a romantic or sexual partner,” wrote lawyer Eve Fichtner, an independent investigator hired by the university.

While the report deals with the harassment of one student, The Chronicle found two others who complained about AlSayyad’s conduct. One student alleged more than 20 years ago that they had sex and that she felt taken advantage of, but her complaint was never the subject of an investigation. 

Another student accused AlSayyad this spring of nonsexual misconduct; an investigation is pending.

AlSayyad, 61, has denied all allegations of misconduct. He said in an interview at his campus office that administrators are overreacting for fear of being perceived as soft on sexual harassment...

On Friday, The Chronicle learned that campus officials have barred AlSayyad from teaching next semester. The move suggests they are acting swiftly to force his resignation. Asked to comment, AlSayyad said he is unaware that he will not be teaching this spring.

“If true, I will not accept it, as it presumes I did something wrong when I did not,” he said...

Full story at



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