UC Berkeley ass't basketball coach resigns after sex harassment claims

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 07, 2016 7:16 PM

By Curtis Skinner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An assistant men's basketball coach at the University of California at Berkeley resigned on Thursday, weeks after the school moved to dismiss him over accusations of sexual harassment against a news reporter, a school official said.

The move came as the university reeled from harassment claims that have surfaced in recent weeks against the dean of the law school and several others.

Assistant coach Yann Hufnagel initially opted to have an independent review of the school's discipline against him, which was scheduled to be completed by Friday. But university spokesman Dan Mogulof said Hufnagel resigned on Thursday.

"The toxic environment at UC Berkeley has made it impossible for Mr. Hufnagel to rejoin the basketball team he loves, even if he is vindicated in full, as the facts would show. He needs to look out for the student-athletes he coached, as well as his own future," his attorney, Mary McNamara, said in a statement.

The school released an investigative report of the complaints against the former Golden Bears coach that said Hufnagel had sent the female news reporter covering the team sexually harassing communications.

The report, seen by Reuters, said Hufnagel admitted to trying to "trick her" into going upstairs from his parking garage to his apartment to have sex with her on a night early in 2015. The report said Hufnagel admitted that some of his conduct was inappropriate, but said it did not amount to sexual harassment.

The dean of Berkeley's law school, Sujit Choudhry, resigned on March 10 following sexual harassment allegations made against him by his executive assistant. According to the university, Choudhry admitted to engaging in unwanted physical contact with the woman, but he denied sexually harassing her.

Earlier this week, the school released records that showed a total of 19 staff members had violated the school's sexual misconduct policy over the past five years.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Dan Grebler)