Berkeley Professor Found to Have Harassed Grad Student Resigns, Plans to Sue

September 19, 2018

Nezar AlSayyad, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, who was suspended this summer for three years without pay for sexually harassing a graduate student, resigned and is planning to sue the institution, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. AlSayyad remains barred from campus through 2021, according to an administrative email sent to students, faculty and staff at the College of Environmental Design and obtained by the Chronicle. AlSayyad’s emeritus status reportedly will be withheld for three years, but he will receive his pension and retirement benefits immediately.

AlSayyad has denied the harassment allegations. His attorney told the Chronicle this week that he plans to pursue legal action against the university to challenge his three-year ban and have his emeritus privileges reinstated after the one-year suspension period previously recommended by a faculty committee. A five-month investigation by Berkeley found that AlSayyad spent months grooming a graduate student before putting his hand on her upper thigh and proposing that they go to Las Vegas. Berkeley tripled the terms of the faculty-recommended suspension because administrators determined that AlSayyad had abused his power in trying to isolate the student from other mentors for his personal gain.

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