Nineteen professors and other employees of the University of California at Berkeley have violated sexual misconduct policy at the facility since 2011, with many of them targeting students, according to hidden documents ferreted out by the student newspaper.
The documents were obtained by The Daily Californian through a Public Records Act request. They include the findings of 11 investigations by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination that were not previously made public.
Of those investigations, three subjects resigned, four were terminated and four suffered lesser penalties, including a letter of reprimand. One disciplinary hearing of an assistant professor is pending.
Six of the investigations involved a faculty member or other academic employee. About a third of the cases concerned complaints from current or former students.
Harassment included discussion of penis size, crude language, inappropriate touching and sexual propositions. In one situation an adjunct faculty member repeatedly emailed a female student inviting her to Hawaii and elsewhere, talked of orgies, and threatened her with a lower grade if she did not accept.
He invited her at one point to a "dirt smoke-filled weekend of unadulterated guilty pleasure and sins," and offered to "whisper sweet nothings in your ear", according to the documents.
The release of the documents comes after several high-profile faculty and staff members were revealed to have violated university sexual harassment policies, and inadequately disciplined, forcing the entire University of California system to reevaluate how such allegations are handled.
Well-known UC Berkeley astronomer Professor Geoffrey Marcy resigned following reports in 2015 that the school found he had repeatedly sexually harassed students over a decade yet levied no serious penalty against him.
In early March 2016, Tyann Sorrell, who was working for law school dean Sujit Choudhry, filed a lawsuit charging him with sexual harassment and against the UC Board of Regents for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. According to the complaint, Choudhry hugged, kissed or caressed Sorrell multiple times each week, among other allegations.
The university found that Choudhry had violated university sexual misconduct rules in 2015 and he wrote a letter of apology to Sorrell but was nevertheless allowed to keep his position.
"I take full responsibility for the indignity you have suffered," Choudhry wrote in the letter which was provided to The Daily Californian. "I have reflected upon my conduct, and every day I wish I had the opportunity to go back and mend things."
Choudhry finally resigned his post as dean after Sorrell's suit was filed amid harsh criticism from students and faculty. But he will remain a tenured member of the faculty. In a similar case a vice chancellor for research gave up his administrative post but kept his position on the faculty.
Less than one week after Choudry's resignation, termination proceedings began against a men's basketball assistant coach after he was found by a campus investigation to have violated UC sexual harassment policy.
A series of reforms to investigating and disciplining sexual harassment and sexual assault have been initiated, including providing more fund to speed up probes. A new committee has also been formed to evaluate the process.