Retired UC Berkeley professor sues university over suspension for sex harassment allegations

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Retired campus architecture professor Nezar AlSayyad, who was suspended over sexual harassment allegations in August, is now suing the UC Board of Regents and Chancellor Carol Christ over his suspension and filed a lawsuit Sept. 25.

The suit seeks to reduce AlSayyad’s suspension from three years to one and to restore pay after that year. It claims that Christ’s decision to overrule and extend the one-year suspension as recommended by the Committee on Privilege and Tenure — a body of the Academic Senate — is “invalid” and led to damages sustained by AlSayyad.

“There was a clear abuse of discretion by (Christ) in that the decision to suspend (AlSayyad) for three years is not supported by the findings,” the lawsuit says. “The penalty is excessive.”

An investigation found that AlSayyad had sexually harassed a student between 2012 and 2014. Eva Hagberg Fisher, a former doctoral student in the campus architecture program and current campus doctoral candidate in visual and narrative culture, filed a Title IX complaint against AlSayyad in March 2016, alleging inappropriate conduct while she studied under him.

AlSayyad has repeatedly denied these accusations.


Sophia Brown-Heidenreich is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sophiabrownh.