Education

UC Berkeley provost resigns post after criticism over lax discipline of alleged harassment

File: Students walk near Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus.
File: Students walk near Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The top academic officer at the University of California, Berkeley has resigned his position following criticism that he was too lenient on the now-former law school dean accused of sexually harassing his assistant.

Campus Provost Claude Steele, a prominent social psychologist who joined the Berkeley administration two years ago, issued a statement Friday saying he was stepping down because his wife has serious health problems that preclude his devoting himself to the job.

Steele says he expects to return to Berkeley as a faculty member in the fall.

Steele became a target of angry faculty and students last month after the law school dean's assistant alleged in a lawsuit that her boss kissed, hugged and touched her repeatedly, but received from the provost only a temporary pay cut and orders to undergo counseling as punishment.