John Dwyer, law-school dean, resigns

04 December 2002 | John Dwyer, who has served as dean of Boalt Hall, the campus law school, since 2000, resigned unexpectedly last week from that post as well as from the faculty.

Dwyer’s resignation came in the wake of an allegation of sexual harassment against him by a former Boalt Hall student. The complainant’s name has not been made public, in keeping with university policy on such matters.

Dwyer has acknowledged that sexual contact was involved in a single encounter between himself and the female complainant, which he characterized as consensual. The woman, in a harassment complaint sent to the university’s Title IX office on Oct. 11, said that she did not consent, and that the incident — which she said took place in Dec. 2000 — had a negative effect on her personal and academic life. The contradictions between her account of the event and Dwyer’s, as well as other aspects of the case, have been widely covered in local and national media since Dwyer’s resignation was announced.

Under the Faculty Code of Conduct, the most severe sanction that would have been imposed on Dwyer following an internal investigation would have been separation from the university. His resignation pre-empts any such action.

Subsequent to the filing of the initial complaint against Dwyer, the complainant’s attorney alleged further that the campus was not in compliance with federal and state law under Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972, which addresses sexual harassment and complaint procedures. The campus is investigating the specific procedures and actions taken related to this complaint to ensure that Title IX polices were followed. Additionally, the university will review the effectiveness of its sexual- harassment policies and education for students, staff, faculty, and administrators.

Chancellor Berdahl, it is expected, will appoint an interim dean shortly; that individual will administer Boalt Hall during a nationwide search for a replacement for Dwyer.

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