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UC Berkeley Law School Dean Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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(UC Berkeley Law School)

(UC Berkeley Law School)

BERKELEY, Calif. (Diya TV) — Sujit Choudhry, dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s prestigious law school, is taking an “indefinite leave of absence” from his position after a lawsuit filed against him from his former executive assistant alleged claims of sexual harassment.

The complaint was filed Tuesday against Choudhry and the University of California Board of Regents. Amongst the allegations are claims that Choudhry made inappropriate advances towards the woman, and retaliation and failure to stop the sexual harassment.

Tyann Sorrell, the former executive assistant and 41-year-old mother of five, claims in her complaint that from a period between September 2014 to March 2015, Choudhry sexually harassed her — rubbing her shoulders and arms, kissing her cheeks and giving her bear hugs that pressed her body against him, according to court documents. “Choudhry’s kissing and hugging Plaintiff was a near daily occurrence, Choudhry’s conduct made Plaintiff feel disgusted, humiliated, exposed and dirty,” the lawsuit states.

Sujit Choudhry University of California Berkeley via AP

Sujit Choudhry University of California Berkeley via AP

Soon thereafter, the lawsuit claims the harassment became more frequent — on a daily basis — and much more explicit. “The hugs became tighter and more lingering and the kissing more intimate in that over time Choudhry’s kisses began to land closer and closer” to her mouth, according to the court documents.

“She wondered what she had done to make him think it was OK for him to touch her,” according to the documents. “She was worried about her reputation and what her work colleagues thought of her. At the same time, she worried about upsetting him and possibly losing her job, on which her family depended.”

Additionally, Sorrell claims in her suit that she is a past victim of domestic and sexual abuse. When the situation in her workplace began, it ushered in a pattern of anxiousness and depression — causing her to lose sleep and dread her going to work. She said she suffered “insomnia, hair loss, depression and anxiety” as a result.

Choudhry, 46, could not be reached for comment. However, a UC Berkeley spokesman told Diya TV that Choudhry formally announced he would resign a day after the university imposed his indefinite leave of absence.

Sorrell began working at the university in 2012, and the lawsuit states she made multiple complaints to her superiors regarding Choudhry’s alleged conduct. It took the university months to investigate her claims, the lawsuit states. Berkeley’s internal investigation concluded in July, and determined by a preponderance of evidence that the dean had violated the university’s sexual harassment policy.

“A thorough investigation of this case found that Dean Choudhry’s behavior in this situation violated policy,” university Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele said. “He demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment.

“Based on the findings of the investigation I believed that a combination of disciplinary actions, monitoring of his behavior and formal training would be an appropriate and effective response, and would produce the necessary changes in his behavior.”

Berkeley’s law program — widely regarded as one of the nation’s best and brightest — is no stranger to scandal. Specifically, allegations of sexual misconduct against its leaders.

In 2002, then-dean John Dwyer was forced to resign after he was accused of sexually harassing a former student. The story, reported on by the school’s student newspaper, wrote that Dwyer had “admitted to having a single consensual encounter with a student two years ago but denied charges of sexual harassment.”

“I acknowledge that this reflected a serious error in judgment on my part and was inappropriate,” he had written in an internal memo, according to the newspaper. “I believe I can no longer effectively lead the school.”

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Sukhpal Singh arrested in Tusli Mandir hate crime case

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) – New York police arrested a man for allegedly sledgehammering a statue of Gandhi outside a Queens Hindu Shri Tusli Mandir. Twenty seven year old Sukhpal Singh is charged with criminal mischief and a hate crime for allegedly destroying the statue and defacing it with spray paint outside Tulsi Mandir in Richmond Hill last month. 

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Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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“Serial” subject Adnan Syed released, conviction vacated 

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — A judge on Monday vacated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, years after the hit podcast “Serial” chronicled the case of this Muslim American and cast doubt on his role in the 1999 slaying of his former girlfriend. The judge said prosecutors made a compelling argument that Syed’s conviction was flawed and that he should immediately go free. The state now has 30 days to decide whether to seek a new trial or potentially stop the case.

Violence erupted in Leicester, England after Hindus took to the streets to protest violence against their community by Muslim extremists. Islamist counter protesters hurled glass bottles and a Saffron flag was also desecrated by the mob in front of the police. This comes after targeted attacks on Hindus following the Asia Cup India-Pakistan cricket match last month when armed Islamists attacked Hindus and their homes in the area. Hindus are now demanding action against the violence.

Thousands of world dignitaries paid their respects during Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral including U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian President Droupadi Murmu, and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Paramvir Singh killed in brazen gas station robbery 

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In Mississippi, surveillance footage at a gas station shows the horrific shooting that claimed the life of Indian American store clerk Paramvir Singh during a brazen daylight robbery. The video appears to show Singh cooperating inside the shop and telling the suspected robber Chris Copeland to take all the cash. Moments later, Copeland opens fire. Officers eventually arrested Copeland several hours later.

In a surprise statement during a regional summit in Uzbekistan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly changed his posture with Russia directly to President Vladimir Putin over the ongoing battle in Ukraine. Modi said to Putin “today’s era is not an era of war. And I have spoken to you on the phone about this.” In response, Putin said to Modi “we will do our best to stop this as soon as possible.”
The summit is also being attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jingping.

Indian American political activist Shefali Razdan Duggal has been confirmed by the US Senate as the country’s next envoy to the Netherlands, adding to the growing list of Indian Americans in President Biden’s administration.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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