Students at Berkeley University are campaigning for the reinstatement of a suspended professor who was forced to take leave after she was found guilty of stalking and harassing a professor at another University of California campus.

Professor Ivonne del Valle, a tenured associate professor of colonial studies in Berkeley’s department of Spanish and Portuguese, accused Professor Joshua Clover of harassing her online.

She became convinced that Clover, an English and comparative literature teacher at UC Davis, had hacked her computer in some way and manipulated her accounts.

She felt he was writing veiled insults about her colleagues on Twitter, and began writing him messages, leaving him voicemails and turning up outside his home. She stalked his mother, and forced him to move house.

Over the course of five years, the situation unraveled, and she was suspended in the fall of 2021, KQED report.

Professor Ivonne del Valle was suspended by Berkeley in the fall of 2021. She is fighting to get back to teaching

Professor Ivonne del Valle was suspended by Berkeley in the fall of 2021. She is fighting to get back to teaching

Del Valle has accused Professor Joshua Clover of hacking her devices and stalking her. He says she is mentally ill

Del Valle has accused Professor Joshua Clover of hacking her devices and stalking her. He says she is mentally ill

Students are seen at Berkeley protesting, calling for del Valle to be reinstated

Students are seen at Berkeley protesting, calling for del Valle to be reinstated

Now del Valle is fighting to be reinstated, and students are backing her.

On Saturday they interrupted a college football game. They are planning a hunger strike.

‘My life is completely destroyed,’ said del Valle.

‘I don’t want UC Berkeley to think that they can do this to a minority woman in order to protect a white, senior professor. It’s not acceptable.’

Clover, in an email to some of del Valle’s supporters, obtained by The Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote that the charges included ‘multiple instances of stalking, sexual harassment, retaliation, and violation of no-contact directives directed against me, my family, and my students; many, many charges across many, many years.’

The saga began in the spring of 2018, when del Valle attended a panel discussion featuring Clover, who is well known as a poet, columnist, and political theorist who directs the university’s Marxist Institute for Research.

Del Valle said that she was considering asking Clover to appear at a conference she was organizing on the 1968 student and worker uprisings in Mexico and elsewhere around the world.

Del Valle approached him after the event and said she’d like to talk to him about the conference.

They agreed to meet in a bar two weeks later in Oakland, but Clover said he was embarrassed to realize she thought it was a date.

Clover, director of the Marxist Institute for Research at UC Davis, met del Valle for a drink in May 2018: he said he was uncomfortable to realize she thought it was a date

Clover, director of the Marxist Institute for Research at UC Davis, met del Valle for a drink in May 2018: he said he was uncomfortable to realize she thought it was a date

Del Valle insists that she never thought her meeting with Clover was a date, and says he has been targeting her

Del Valle insists that she never thought her meeting with Clover was a date, and says he has been targeting her

Clover said he felt ‘uncomfortable with the interaction’, and ended the meeting early.

Clover said that she spoke like it was a date, and was ‘visibly flustered’ when he mentioned his partner.

Del Valle, however, said she did not think of it as a date but rather a social meeting with a colleague – and claims she ended the meeting because Clover had said he had a reading group to join afterward.

Del Valle had been following Clover on Twitter before they met: she claims that, after the awkward Oakland meeting, Clover began writing oblique messages on Twitter criticizing her colleagues.

She messaged him privately: he said her messages were ‘confusing’.

Del Valle wrote to him and said he was making her ‘uncomfortable as hell’ with the supposed slights on her colleagues.

The next day, Clover replied: ‘I will not respond to further communication — Please do not write to me any further.’

Del Valle became convinced Clover had somehow planted a bug in her phone.

She told The Chronicle that she wrote a text message discussing plans to see a friend named Isis: Clover posted a tweet about a restaurant with the same name.

She searched online for French lessons, and he tweeted: ‘Moving on to daily vous, daily ils elles.’

She discussed Kendrick Lamar’s song Humble on the phone with her son, and over the next two days Clover’s tweets included the word ‘humble’.

In October 2018 she went to the police to report cyberstalking: police, she said, treated her like she was ‘delusional’.

She said the police were ‘rude, discriminating, and misogynistic.’

She said she told the police: ‘If you don’t do anything, I’m going to have to do it myself. This situation is unsustainable.’

Supporters of del Valle leave flyers on campus demanding she is reinstated

Supporters of del Valle leave flyers on campus demanding she is reinstated

She then switched her cellphone and laptop, and changed her home internet systems three times.

Del Valle contacted Clover’s partner to say he was harassing her.

In December 2018, she turned up outside his apartment door and sat there for an hour, while he asked her to go away.

She slid notes under the door, one of which read: ‘If you make me leave, it’ll be worse. I’ll keep doing this you can be sure of that.’

He complained, and she was ordered not to go near him.

‘I did things I’m not proud of,’ del Valle told The Chronicle.

‘I’d been asking for help in so many places and no one was paying attention or listening to me. And I’m the one who was turned into the pariah.’

The university’s cyber security team suggested she take a break from social media.

She said she tried, but was not able to avoid ‘the elephant in the room’.

In June 2019 she admitting creating Twitter accounts to ‘denounce’ Clover and urged the police to investigate.

Del Valle impersonated Clover, making him out to be ‘dirty old man’ and containing sexual references.

She left a voicemail, telling Clover: ‘You need to still call me and apologize or you’ll see what I’m going to do. I’m not afraid of you. … I’m not afraid of anything because I am right.’

She keyed Clover’s car, sprayed messages in silver paint inside the hall of his apartment building and on his front door calling him a ‘sex addict’ and ‘sick harasser.’

He eventually moved out.

Clover did not call the police on del Valle.

In 2014, he wrote on Twitter that he was ‘thankful that every living cop will one day be dead’ and in a 2016 interview said that police ‘need to be killed.’

The university said his comments were abhorrent, but were free speech.

Del Valle moved to harassing Clover’s mother, Carol J. Clover, an emerita professor at Berkeley.

In late 2020 and early 2021 chunks of rotten pineapple covered with oil were dumped at her doorstep, and chalked insults about her son were written on the sidewalk in front of her home.

Protesters calling for del Valle to be reinstated are seen blocking Saturday's football game

Protesters calling for del Valle to be reinstated are seen blocking Saturday’s football game

Police arrested 15 people on Saturday for preventing the start of the game

Police arrested 15 people on Saturday for preventing the start of the game

A student protester is seen being escorted off the field

A student protester is seen being escorted off the field

A person investigators said was ‘more likely than not’ del Valle was seen on surveillance cameras fleeing the scene.

In January 2022, the university put her on involuntary medical leave.

Four months later, del Valle was suspended without pay or benefits for nine months, largely for the pineapple, chalking, and related incidents.

Clover insists she is mentally ill and needs help.

Del Valle insists she is a victim.

‘Not a single thing I have done or supposedly done is romantic or sexual in nature,’ she said.

‘The opposite is true. They have all been defense against humiliating abuse and sexual harassment.’

A campaign to reinstate her has sprung up.

On September 14 around 80 students, alumni, and faculty and staff members held a meeting via zoom.

‘I’m talking here from a place of deep discomfort,’ said del Valle, her voice breaking.

‘This is not easy for me to do, but I have to.’

Everything she had worked for, she said, ‘can easily be taken away by a white person with power.’

On Saturday, 15 people were arrested for delaying the start of UC Berkley’s game against USC.

Students are now planning a hunger strike.

‘We want Ivonne back,’ said Christián González Reyes, a Ph.D. student studying comparative literature, who is organizing with the campaign. ‘We’re not going to be silent anymore.’

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