UC Berkeley's image in question after several sexual harassment allegations surface

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- One of the most respected and prestigious universities in the country is grappling with a scandal that threatens to ruin its image.

The University of California Berkeley is dealing with a series of sexual harassment allegations, many involving key faculty and staff.

Tyann Sorrell worked as an executive assistant at the law school and is suing after she says the dean sexually harassed her. She feels the university was trying to sweep all these other cases under the rug and is demanding more transparency.

"It's just very disheartening," Sorrell said.

Sorrell says she was heartbroken when she learned her sexual harassment case at UC Berkeley was among several others. Documents reveal there are 17 sexual harassment investigations since 2008 involving staff. Eleven have resulted in the accused being fired or resigning, six resulted in some other form of discipline and two are still pending.

These include a custodian peeking at a woman in the shower, an adjunct professor who sent sexual emails to a student, and a massage therapist accused of touching a woman's genitals.

"I sat and I wondered you know, what did the victims of these circumstances go through? Was it anything like I went through? Was it worse?" Sorrell said.

Sorrell says she was forced to go on leave for complaining about the law school dean kissing and touching her. He has since resigned. Among those in the report who kept their jobs.

Cal's diving coach Todd Mulzet. He was only docked pay when a co-worker accused him of making inappropriate sexual comments.

"I'm not here to defend past decision and nor can we turn back the hands of time. What we can do is advance our commitment to improve our policies, our practices and our culture," said UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

Public policy professor Michael O'Hare says the damage has already been done.

"Well it's already hurt Cal. We don't have statistics to show all the brilliant women who haven't applied to graduate school here and went somewhere else instead," said UC Berkeley professor Michael O'Hare.

UC Berkeley just launched the chancellor's committee on sexual violence, harassment, and assault. The mission is to strengthen prevention efforts.
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