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Student Sues University of the Pacific Over Sexual Harassment

A University of the Pacific student is suing the school and a retired research librarian over allegations of sexual assault.

34-year-old Ph.D. scholar Amit Lal has accused ex-librarian Craig Hawbaker of sexual abuse, harassment, and emotional distress, which took place between 2013 until 2017.

“Most of the wrongful conduct occurred in 2013 through the summer of 2014 – when Hawbaker retired. However, the harassing conduct continued into 2015. Despite his retirement, Hawbaker would frequent Pacific’s Stockton campus in 2015,” the lawsuit reads.

“In 2015, there were numerous incidents where he attempted to flag down Amit by waiving his arms and hands at Amit.”

Lal filed a complaint against Hawbaker with university officials in 2015. However, the school did not open an investigation into the case until 2017. The lawsuit alleges the university of knowing about the librarian’s inappropriate sexual behavior but doing nothing to address his conduct.

“Amit brought his complaint to multiple university employees constituting numerous incidents of actual or constructive notice to Pacific,” the lawsuit states. “Despite Amit sufficiently notifying, verbally and in writing, Pacific through multiple employees, Pacific failed to take timely action and misrepresented to Amit that they had taken care of the issue and that Amit was safe.”

Amit is seeking $4 million in damages if the case goes to trial. Meanwhile, the university has declined to comment on the litigation and has said that it takes all cases of sexual misconduct seriously.

“Pacific cannot comment on litigation out of respect for the privacy rights of the parties involved, and to protect the integrity of the legal process,” the university said in a statement.

“Pacific seeks to create a community where people can work and pursue their interests in a safe and respectful environment free from any form of sexual misconduct.”

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