String of harassment allegations embarrass Cal administrators
The University of California is looking into whether head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin followed school policy when he learned one of his assistant coaches had been sexually harassing a reporter covering the team for months, university officials said today.
The review is a routine examination of whether proper procedures were followed when a reporter for an undisclosed media outlet told UC officials that assistant coach Yann Hufnagel had been sexually harassing her for months while she interacted with him as a source.
The harassment included repeatedly propositioning her sexually over text message and once insisting she drive him home from a bar, closing the garage door behind them, and trying to talk her into coming upstairs and having sex with him.
A redacted report released Tuesday says the unidentified woman reported the harassment to someone identified only as “Witness 1,” but who was apparently Martin. In Witness 1’s statement to investigators, also included in the report, he said the woman “called him in May 2015 and said, ‘I want to talk to you about one of your assistant coaches.'”
However, the harassment was not reported to the university’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination until July. An investigation was completed this week and Hufnagel was fired.
Meanwhile, the university is in talks for a contract extension for Martin. He is not specifically the target of an investigation, school officials said.
Hufnagel’s firing comes as the university has faced questions about whether its practices for dealing with sexual harassment are adequate following revelations of ongoing sexual misconduct involving several other high-ranking officials.
Just last week, former law school dean Sujit Choudhry resigned from his post after a lawsuit revealed he had sexually harassed his executive assistant for months. The university had disciplined him by docking his pay 10 percent and ordering him to write a letter apologizing to the woman.
In a letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, UC President Janet Napolitano said the university does not intend to defend Choudhry in the litigation. She also ordered Dirks to remove former Vice Chancellor of Research Graham Fleming, who had his own sexual harassment scandal last year, from any administrative duties.
Napolitano had already taken on reviewing the university system’s sexual harassment policies in October, when noted astronomy professor Geoff Marcy resigned after allegations surfaced that he had been sexually harassing students for over a decade.
Meanwhile, 25 sexual misconduct investigations remain open at the university involving faculty, staff and students. All campus staff was instructed to take one of two online sexual harassment trainings on Monday.
“President Napolitano is calling for the University of California to be the national leader and model in the prevention and response to sexual violence and sexual assault,” university officials wrote in an email to staff Monday. “The recent events underscore the significance as an organization that we have full compliance with mandatory training.”