UC Berkeley is defending its handling of sexual harassment complaints against a prominent astronomer amid accusations on campus and beyond that the professor was inadequately disciplined for inappropriate behavior with students.
The university has not shared details of the six-month investigation of Professor Geoffrey Marcy that concluded in June when he was found to have violated campus sex harassment policies. It resulted from complaints brought by former students and dealt with incidents dating as far back as 2001, campus officials said.
After the probe and the nature of the complaints were first reported by BuzzFeed News on Friday, UC Berkeley said Marcy had agreed to clear parameters around his behavior with the knowledge he would be subject to automatic suspension or dismissal for any violations.
In a follow-up statement issued Monday, the school described the agreement Marcy reached with Vice Provost for Faculty Janet Broughton as "the most certain and effective option for preventing any inappropriate future conduct" because it bypassed a lengthy disciplinary process that would have required a hearing before a faculty committee.