UC Berkeley vice chancellor for research resigns after sexual harassment allegations arise

Graham-Fleming

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UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research Graham Fleming has resigned after allegations arose that he sexually harassed a former campus employee.

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks informed faculty and campus leadership in research of the resignation Thursday evening, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof. Fleming resigned for what he described as personal reasons and will end his term April 20.

Mogulof said he did not have further comment on Fleming’s reasons for resigning. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Fleming was accused last year by former assistant vice chancellor for research enterprise services Diane Leite of violating the university’s anti-sexual harassment policies by allegedly inappropriately touching her and sending overly affectionate emails.

The Chronicle reported that the UC Office of the President investigated the allegations and found evidence that Fleming’s behavior may have been inappropriate. In a letter to the chancellor, Fleming criticized the investigation, according to the Chronicle. A public relations consultant working with his lawyer also told the Chronicle that Fleming denies the allegations.

Fleming joined the campus in 1997 as a chemistry professor. His achievements include helping propose and plan the construction of Stanley Hall and contributing to more than 400 publications. Before serving as vice chancellor of research, he served as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s deputy director from 2005 to 2007.

As vice chancellor for research, he was responsible for leadership in policy, planning and administration related to campus research.

Leite was fired in 2012 for allegedly violating the university’s sexual harassment policies when she increased the salary of an employee with whom she was having a sexual relationship. Before being fired, Leite was notified by Fleming that she would be demoted and have her pay docked from $188,531 to $175,000.

Melissa Wen is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.

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  • Nunya Beeswax

    How much credibility are we willing to assign to an administrator who was herself disciplined for sexual harassment? Does anyone beside me think it’s possible that she concocted these charges as retaliation against Fleming for his role in disciplining her? I suppose we’ll never really know.

    WRT Gamma’s comments, he’s obviously overreacting. Thinking that every woman in the workplace is out to pin you on a false harassment rap is just as crazy as thinking every woman in the workplace is a potential sexual partner.

  • s randall

    Fleming is claiming that his actions were not “unwelcome.” If he really thinks he’s getting screwed, he should release the incriminating e-mail he sent. I bet he won’t though.

  • Gamma

    hmm… I personally will maintain safe distance from women at work. One can debate on whether she, at the moment, felt insecure and/or aroused and wanted it, or whether he took advantage of the situation. But there is no debate on the fact that this man’s prolific career is absolutely ruined. And sexual assault allegations by women in workplace, both legitimate and unfounded, is something that is ever increasing. There is rarely such allegations from men. This asymmetry is probably an unfortunate consequence of our biological make-up. But being a man, although I hate discrimination, for playing safe and avoiding the potential of ruining my career and becoming the biggest embarrassment to everyone, I will probably think twice before working with a woman. In fact, at present, the times that I do have to work with a woman, I feel quite fearful and take extra precautions to avoid any misunderstanding and/or giving any reason for feeling disgruntled (e.g., meeting in open public places only, speaking in an overly polite way, etc). Unfortunate! But if more men start taking such precautions and maintain distance, this ultimately may end up hurting women in their career path in STEM fields, although may surely reduce sexual assault allegations as this.

    • aosterholdable

      People who try to avoid working with a group that makes up half the world’s population will only hurt their own careers. Which is unfortunate, since you are trying to protect your career.

    • snarflebarf .

      “Although I hate discrimination…” you will proceed to do so.

      I have worked in peer and supervisory relationships with dozens of people, men and women, over a decade in the workplace. Somehow I have managed to not “ruin my career”. Maybe it’s because I didn’t find it hard to maintain a level of mutual respect and professional service at work.

      Why is this so hard for people to handle?

    • s randall

      But if more men start taking such precautions and maintain distance,
      this ultimately may end up hurting women in their career path in STEM
      fields, although may surely reduce sexual assault allegations as this.

      What are you trying to say?