Melissa Murray rises to UC Berkeley law interim dean


Law professor Melissa Murray has been named interim dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, succeeding former Dean Sujit Choudhry, who resigned from the post recently following allegations that he had sexually harassed his executive assistant.

However, Choudhry remains on the law school faculty under the university’s tenure policy.

Law school officials said Murray’s appointment, which began¬†Tuesday, was decided with input from Berkeley Law faculty, students and staff following Choudhry’s resignation.

UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks said in a statement:

“Melissa Murray is a widely respected scholar and teacher, as renowned for the quality of her scholarship as her engagement with students. …¬†She will provide excellent leadership at Berkeley Law as we search for a permanent dean, and we will provide her with every form of support.”

The search for a permanent dean could take at least a year, law school officials said.

Murray, 40, who graduated from Yale Law School, joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 2006 and received tenure in 2011.

Berkeley Law officials said she has taught a range of courses that include family law, constitutional law and criminal law. She is the faculty director of Berkeley Law’s Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, which is a multidisciplinary research center.

Murray said in a statement:

“I am humbled by this opportunity to lead one of the best law schools in the country. Berkeley Law is fortunate to have wonderful staff, students, alumni, and faculty. I am excited to work with them, and with the campus leadership, as we move forward.”

Berkeley Law officials said the responsibilities of a dean include academic, intellectual and administrative leadership, as well as advancing a vision for the school’s future, fundraising and building partnerships and strong relationships with alumni.

Choudhry resigned as dean on March 10 following allegations that he sexually harassed his executive assistant for months in 2014 and 2015. The university released a report corroborating the claims and docked his pay by 10 percent while ordering him to pursue counseling.

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