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Research Integrity

UC Berkeley’s Graham Fleming Resigns Vice Chancellor Post

Investigation: Report substantiates harassment allegations, chemist calls it “biased and unjust”

by Jyllian Kemsley
April 17, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 16

Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Photo of Graham Fleming.
Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

University of California, Berkeley, Vice Chancellor for Research Graham R. Fleming is resigning his administrative position in protest amid sexual harassment allegations. He retains his faculty position as a chemistry professor.

Former UC Berkeley employee Diane Leite filed a harassment complaint against Fleming in 2014, two years after being dismissed from the university. An investigation followed, “conducted according to our normal processes,” says UC Office of the President (UCOP) spokeswoman Dianne Klein, who refused to provide any further details.

The investigation determined that Fleming had violated UC’s sexual harassment policy, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on April 14.

“I resign, under protest, with profound objections to and great personal disappointment in the UCOP investigation into those allegations,” wrote Fleming in his April 8 resignation letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. “Because I was not afforded due process by UCOP, and because there is no independent mechanism to appeal a biased and unjust report, there is no way for me to clear my name.”

“While Fleming acknowledges that [his relationship with Leite] was occasionally flirtatious and familiar, both he and Leite agree that at no time were the two ever sexually or romantically involved,” adds a press release issued by Fleming’s spokesman, Sam Singer.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof says he is not aware of any other harassment complaints against Fleming, although he noted that any complaints would be kept confidential unless substantiated. UCOP’s Klein declined to say whether that office had received any other complaints.

Leite lost her job at UC Berkeley in 2012 after a separate investigation that focused on Leite’s relationship with a male subordinate, according to media reports from the time. Leite worked in Fleming’s office as an assistant vice chancellor and then as an executive adviser before she was dismissed. She is currently employed on a one-year contract as a senior proposal manager at the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute, that organization says.

Fleming’s last day as vice chancellor will be April 20. He then plans to take a yearlong sabbatical before resuming teaching, Singer says. Fleming’s research focuses on using ultrafast spectroscopy to study the dynamics of condensed phase systems.



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