On Wednesday, a United States district judge denied a motion to halt a second round of university disciplinary proceedings against former UC Berkeley School of Law dean Sujit Choudhry, who was found to have violated the university’s sexual harassment policies last year.
Choudhry alleged in the motion that because the university already completed a previous round of disciplinary proceedings against him, the second round violates his right to due process. The order states that legal precedents “require that federal courts abstain from interfering with ongoing state proceedings absent bad faith, harassment or other exceptional circumstance.”
“An injunction is not warranted on this record,” the order states. “No such exceptional circumstances have been shown.”
A campus Title IX office determined that Choudhry violated sexual misconduct policy after his former executive assistant Tyann Sorrell alleged in a complaint that he hugged, kissed and caressed her several times per week for more six months. After the first round of disciplinary proceedings, the campus cut his pay 10 percent for one year, ordered him to receive counseling and directed him to apologize to Sorrell.
After these disciplinary actions were criticized as being too lenient, UC President Janet Napolitano called for a second round of disciplinary proceedings against Choudhry in March that could potentially lead to the termination of his employment.
Choudhry filed a lawsuit in September against the UC Board of Regents, among other parties related to the university, alleging that the university racially discriminated against him in its disciplinary practices and attempted to deprive him of his reputation and career.
In the motion, Choudhry argued that the proceedings will cause him “further irreparable harm if allowed to continue.”
“Choudhry’s allegations of immediate injury do not rise to the exceptionally high level required to warrant federal judicial interventions,” the order states. “Choudhry argues he is currently ‘unable to go to work or teach’ … but he is still a tenured faculty member, paid by the university, with research and administrative duties and an office in a university building.”