Just one month ago, UC Berkeley moved to fire assistant basketball coach Yann Hufnagel for violating the university’s sexual harassment policy. But don’t worry about the guy; this is a story about the world of sports, so, he’ll be fine. Hufnagel dropped his appeal in what feels like record time and resigned to accept a nice new job at the University of Nevada, Reno. The university’s new coach Eric Musselman told the Reno Gazette-Journal Monday that he was “comfortable with” the hiring.
Hufnagel’s career at Berkeley ended after a female reporter who covered the team accused him of sexual misconduct over a period spanning late 2014 to the spring of 2015. Because she needed access to Hufnagel to do her job, she said that he took advantage of her situation, texting her sexual innuendos and even trying to get her on board for a three-way with a friend of his. Most damningly, she also said that he “made several claims that he was expecting to have sex” with her after she drove him home one night after he said he was too drunk to drive. What ensued, she said, was a tense standoff in his locked garage that made her feel “scared” until she left.
At an open forum on UNR’s campus last week, members of the student body and faculty voiced concerns over the hiring to the university’s president Marc Johnson and Athletic Director Doug Knuth. UNR political science professor Jennifer Ring said, “I was upset and a little embarrassed. A guy the University of California was prepared to fire, we have hired,” and a female freshman asked if the message the school was sending is that it’s “OK to do such things. You’ll still get that position somewhere.”
Yep, the University of California is cracking down on sexual predators in academic robes at the insistence of its president, who says earlier proposals didn’t go far enough to curb the kind of abuse that’s been flourishing, especially at the Berkeley campus.
The ongoing scandals at Cal ahve already resulted in the resignation of one of the nation’s leading astronomers, the law school dean, and an athletic coach, though no tenured faculty have been dismissed and firings have been limited to non-teaching staff.
A University of California committee charged with recommending reforms for the investigation and discipline of faculty accused of sexual misconduct did not go far enough in its initial report and will need to reconvene, UC President Janet Napolitano said in a letter released Monday.
Napolitano said the committee made “several important recommendations,” including changes to make it easier to place a faculty member who is under investigation on involuntary leave. But, she said, the committee needs to come back in three months with recommendations for a clear timeline — no longer than five months for the investigation and discipline of a professor — among other changes that will require careful consideration.
“Given the seriousness of these cases and the shortcomings that have been identified with existing processes and policies, however, this work is crucial,” she wrote.
The latest pushback against Linda Kathei, the University of California, Davis chancellor, corporate profiteer. pepper-spraying-cop boss, and Internet search engine scrubber, comes from the student body of the entuire UC system.
Late Friday, the University of California Student Association issued a call for the chancellor’s resignation or termination. The UCSA calls itself the “official voice of over 240,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 10 UC campuses.”
After a vote to formally call for Katehi to resign or be terminated, UCSA president Kevin Sabo, a senior at UC Berkeley, decried Katehi’s “blatant disregard of her responsibility as a UC leader.”
Referencing the money spent on clearing negative web references to Katehi and UCD, Sabo continued. “I have to ask: Where did that money come from? Is there a donor out there who chose to fund PR stunts over scholarships? Was it worth it, now that the image they tried so hard to delete is etched deeply into the memories of students and legislative leaders who consider these actions egregious and corruptive?
From the editorial cartoonist of the Sacramento Bee, who is on a roll with his graphic takes on University of California, Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi [previously] and her corporatized take on running and profiting from a public trust:
At the University of California, Berkeley, the growing awareness that university administrators tolerated an atmosphere enabling predator faculty and staff to prey on students has claimed another casualty.
This time the departing official is merely an enabler, rather than an overt actor.
Amid a campus sexual harassment scandal, UC Berkeley Provost Claude Steele announced Friday he would step down from the position, citing family health reasons.
Steele has been sharply criticized for his role in the discipline of prominent faculty members accused of sexual harassment, including the initial decision to allow law school Dean Sujit Choudhry to remain in his job after a campus investigation found him to have violated the sexual harassment policy by giving his executive assistant unwanted hugs and kisses. After an outcry, Choudhry left the post.
Steele was also criticized for what some called a conflict of interest: He was appointed to the law school faculty with the support of his subordinate, Choudhry, as the dean was being investigated. Last month, Steele resigned his law school appointment.
Some staff members in at least one area, residential student services, were told by managers two weeks ago that they should prepare to be laid off in the near future, sources said. Other departments are bracing for similar news.
The first announcement of a planned lawsuit in the unfolding sexual abuse scandal at the University of California, Berkeley, appears today on the website of the Guardian.
Attorneys for two graduate students told the newspaper they will file complaints Monday with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the first step toward filing lawsuits.
Target of the action is Blake Wentworth, an assistant professor in Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies specializing in Tamil literature [and note the photo on his webpage]:
Kathleen Gutierrez struggles to get out of bed each day. For the past year, the 28-year-old University of California at Berkeley graduate student has battled extreme fatigue, unexpected body aches and debilitating anxiety.
In October, records show, a university investigation concluded that Wentworth violated the college’s harassment policies and made “unwelcome sexual advances” toward her. But more than six months later, the professor has faced no discipline and remains employed at UC Berkeley – with an office two doors away from Gutierrez.
At least six other students have given recent testimonials expressing concerns about Wentworth, and several have filed complaints, according to a recent letter sent by multiple faculty members to supervisors.
On Monday, Gutierrez and Erin Bennett, another graduate student who has accused Wentworth of harassment, intend to file formal complaints with the state against the professor and the University of California, alleging they have been subject to discrimination, sexual harassment and a hostile and intimidating work environment.