The eminent evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala has offered his resignation to the University of California, Irvine (UCI) , effective 1 July, the university announced yesterday. The move comes on the heels of an investigation of alleged sexual harassment by Ayala that began last November and included complaints from four women – two professors, an assistant dean, and one graduate student—in the School of Biological Sciences. The biological sciences building was, until this week, named after its benefactor—Ayala.
“Given the number and breadth of the substantiated allegations, along with the power differentials at play, I believe that keeping Professor Ayala’s name in a position of honor would be wrong,” UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman wrote in announcing that Ayala is resigning without emeritus status, will “abstain” from future campus activities, and will have his name removed from both the biological sciences building and UCI’s science library.
Gillman said the university had interviewed more than 60 witnesses during its probe of the allegations. “While reporting misconduct is always difficult, the actions of these women were particularly courageous because their reports involved one of the most prominent members of our faculty,” Gillman wrote.