Pattern of Abuse

UC Berkeley suspends architecture professor for sexual harassment

Education West
UC Berkeley has suspended Professor Nezar AlSayyad for three years after a student brought forward sexual assault claims. (Courtesy UNSW)
UC Berkeley has suspended Professor Nezar AlSayyad for three years after a student brought forward sexual assault claims. (Courtesy UNSW)

UC Berkeley has suspended Nezar AlSayyad, professor of architecture, city planning, urban design, and urban history as punishment for “a pattern of sexual harassment,” in the words of Benjamin Hermalin, vice provost at the school. The decision was reported today by the San Francisco Chronicle, after apparently having been made public by the school this month. The professor will remain on leave for three years and is planned to return to the school in the fall of 2021, according to his profile page on the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design website.

As the Chronicle reported, AlSayyad’s suspension centered around his abuse of his former student, Eva Hagberg Fisher. She originally brought forth accusations against him in 2016, and it has taken three years for the school to make a decision about the case. AlSayyad has been barred from teaching since Hagberg Fisher came forward, but the Chronicle says that he had continued to receive his six-figure salary since then.

The faculty senate at Berkeley decided the case, and they originally recommended that AlSayyad be suspended for one year after finding that the professor had indeed harassed Hagberg Fisher and created a hostile environment for other faculty and students at the school. Carol Christ, chancellor of the school and the last word on disciplinary measures, decided to triple the length of the leave. Because AlSayyad is a tenured faculty member, it would likely be difficult to fire him or suspend him indefinitely.

The Chronicle reports that AlSayyad and his lawyer are considering retaliatory legal action.

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