An internationally renowned Middle Eastern scholar at UC Berkeley has been accused of sexual assault, after a student filed a complaint.
Architecture professor, Nezar AlSayyad, 61, allegedly placed his hand on the female student's upper thigh before suggesting they become 'close friends' and take a trip to Las Vegas, according to the investigation.
A report obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle found that AlSayyad's conduct 'can be seen as an attempt to 'groom' (the student) for the possibility of becoming a romantic or sexual partner,' wrote lawyer Eve Fichtner, an independent investigator hired by the University of California.
The five-month investigation was completed in October as investigators discovered nearly all of the student's allegations were upheld.
From 2012 to 2014, AlSayyad held social invitations and gave out hugs in order to position himself as the student's protector, the Chronicle reported.
This particular reports only details the complaints of one student.
But the Chronicle found that two others complained about AlSayyad.
One of the students alleged they had sex more than 20 years ago and she felt taken advantage of, but her complaint was never investigated.
Earlier this year, another student accused him of nonsexual misconduct. That investigation is pending.
AlSayyad, who has denied the allegations said in an interview that that administrators are overreacting for fear of being perceived as soft on sexual harassment.
On Friday, The Chronicle learned that campus officials have barred AlSayyad from teaching next semester.
But AlSayyad told the newspaper that he is unaware that he will not be teaching this spring.
'If true, I will not accept it, as it presumes I did something wrong when I did not,' he said.
The investigation concludes at a time when scrutiny of sexual harassment cases on college campuses has been heightened.
AlSayyad has taught at UC Berkeley since 1985 and earned many accolades.