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Sexual harassment claims plague University of California Berkeley

Educational institutions are typically considered positive places where learning, creativity and societal advances thrive. Most administrators and schools strive to keep their institutions ethically sound and hold their faculty and students to high standards of moral behavior. However, something strange has been happening in recent years in the University of California system, and a recent article details some of the challenges the Berkeley campus has had with sexual harassment inquiries.

Over the past several months, it seems that the University of California educational system has been in the news frequently. Unfortunately, it has not been for scholastic achievement, but because employees of prominence have been embroiled in sexual harassment investigations. Most notably, the dean of the law school, a men's basketball assistant coach and a graduate professor have all come under scrutiny.

The school's Office of Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination released information about 11 sexual harassment inquiries, which brings the school's total to 19 that have occurred over the past seven years. This has resulted in resignations and some terminations, but the article points out that no faculty members have been fired as a result of the investigations. Many have started to question the policies and procedures the school has in place for determining and approving a faculty member's termination. Also, the article states that many people believe that the general legal system should be involved in the investigations, which would keep the university from having sole discretion over how they are handled.

Facing sexual harassment in a university or any other work setting can be traumatic for the victims, and taking action may seem daunting. Seeking the counsel of a California attorney may be a good place to start in order to determine which steps should be taken legally. People facing these situations may be entitled to compensatory damages in civil suits that could assist with many costs, including those incurred due to lost wages or tuition.

Source: ucsdguardian.org, "19 UC Berkeley Employees Violated Sexual Harassment Policies Over Last Seven Years", Ming-Ray Liao, April 14, 2016

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