Harvard Students Demand Dean Step Down Due To His Representations of Harvey Weinstein

Harvard students are petitioning for the removal of law professor Ronald Sullivan, the house dean (previously called House Master) of Winthrop House. The school has announced a “climate review” on whether Sullivan can continue as dean after he agreed to represent accused sexual harassers Harvey Weinstein and Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer. It appears that even the representation of people accused of sexual harassment is now considered its a threatening or improper act.

According to The Harvard Crimson, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote to house affiliates to stay that there were “climate concerns” at the House and its environment. However, this action only occurred after Sullivan publicly assumed the role as counsel for Weinstein. Sullivan wrote a letter to residents last month, explaining what should be obvious: lawyers represent unpopular clients because there is a presumption of innocence that must be defended. Acknowledging that some students had raised concerns, he explained “It is particularly important for this category of unpopular defendant to receive the same process as everyone else – perhaps even more important. To the degree we deny unpopular defendants basic due process rights we cease to be the country we imagine ourselves to be.”

That was not enough for some who feel that Sullivan should not represent clients that they object to. At one rally, Hilda M. Jordan objected to the representation and declared “You are a faculty dean, not just an attorney.” That is demonstrably true but there is no reason why either role impacts the other. There are many academic and administrative deans who represent unpopular clients or causes. However, just as their academic writings should not be considered by a court in evaluating their court performance, their legal representation should not be used to evaluate their academic performance.

Danukshi “Danu” A.K. Mudannayake, a Crimson editor, helped organize the protests and declared “The issue is that he cannot simultaneously hold that role while still having a charade of saying that he can actually protect the integrity of his students.” Of course you can hold such roles simultaneously because your role as a role is entirely separate and distinct from that as Dean.

The Association of Black Harvard Women also demanded Sullivan’s removal. It accused him of failing “the Black women in this community” and sexual assault victims in Winthrop will not “feel comfortable” due to his creation of a “harmful situation.” They added “However, none of your past support for the black community justifies your defense of Harvey Weinstein. Your positive contributions in the past do not have bearing on what you are doing now.”

As with the ongoing assaults on free speech on our campuses, this controversy shows the erosion of core principles that once defined us. These students want to punish faculty for representing unpopular individuals without considering the implications of their actions. Law professors have long represented the most hated figures in our society — guaranteeing due process for all citizens.

I have no idea how Sullivan has performed as house dean overall. However, the focus on his representation of criminal defenses is a chilling example of the rising intolerance on our campuses for opposing values or causes. Lowell Faculty Dean Diana L. Eck is quoted as supporting the students and seeking a reevaluation of the faculty dean position. Why? Because Sullivan is functioning as an lawyer in a high-profile case?

There is a teachable moment that is again being missed. The answer to these students is that they have no grounds to object to a faculty member because they do not like one of his clients or his views of sexual harassment litigation. Just as there is no guilt by association, there is no guilt by representation for academics who support the rights of others. In the same fashion, he has no grounds to object to any opposing views on those subjects. That is part of the pluralistic and free environment that we maintain in high education.

81 thoughts on “Harvard Students Demand Dean Step Down Due To His Representations of Harvey Weinstein”

  1. Harvard has, as the English say, “lost the plot”.

    The university hosting the nation’s most (undeservedly) prestigious law school no longer respects the crucial principle that even the most guilty-appearing defendant is entitled to a defense.

    Great wealth and poverty are equally unworthy reasons to deny a defendant a competent defense. So is the nature of the defendant’s alleged offenses.

  2. Tangentially, I hope everyone on here is very well aware that good ‘ole Harvey is just the tip of the iceberg in Hellyweird, a.k.a. Holly-wood—As in Black Magik, with a ‘k’ not a ‘c.’

    Anyway, the manhunt, “pointing fingers” in Hwood was just a cover to protect bigger fish. I mean, sure, sure, Harvey is a big fish, and everyone new it.

    Definitely an “open secret.”

    Every time at the Golden Globes, you can literally see starlets running over to Harvey’s table to kiss the ring, right before commercial breaks.

    Everyone knew that was how you got your “Oscar.,” especially if you were young starlet because as they say in Hwood, “A pretty face is a dime a dozen out here.”

    Other Hwood sayings include:

    “Put out, or get out.”

    “You age in dog years in this biz.”

    “They say you sleep your way to the bottom, but you really sleep your way to the top, but only if you pick the right person.”

    Hellyweird is a great place…just kidding.

    December 21, 2010 — Blog — Harvey’s Girls.

    http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/harveys-girls-the-wouldbe-ingenues-where-are-they-now-and-what-happened-then.php

    1. P.S. The Cannes Film Festival is a place you go as a “newbie” to get “tried out.” And no, I am not joking.

      You will see a lot of “up and coming” starlets there, and they will typically be “attached,” or “arranged” with a bigger star, as in an A-lister, a.k.a. their “Handler.”

      Every up and comer gets a “handler.” It has a very…err…MKUltra, or Monarch Butterfly program, feel to it.

      It might be about 10 years ago now, but there was a big “bust” at Cannes, pertaining to this forced prostitution.

      What they do it, they invite young women to the events who want to be stars, or famous, or whatever, and then they take them out on these mega-million yachts into “international waters,” and then by coercion or duress, they manipulate into….well, you get the picture…

      And it is also well-known, another “open secret” that fading starlets, “men or women,” doesn’t matter, will participate as well, in hopes to get some sort of preferential treatment for roles, down the road. Usually, B to D-listers. And in that case, it is not forced, but invited, to get back in the limelight.

      1. P.P.S. — I guess what I am getting at is they (and, this include men) know what they are getting into when they sign up for Helly-weird.

        Or if you don’t know what you’re getting into, for whatever reason, then believe me when I say — you find out really quick, and then make a decision to “stay or quit.”

        These “victims” are not innocent parties as they “claim.” It was a Hwood quid-pro-quo arrangement.

        The only industry that is more so dirty is probably, the music industry, which is notorious for foul-play.

  3. So far, no one has offered any evidence that Dean Sullivan is going to represent Weinstein pro bono – that is, with no fee. Thus, the protestations here that Weinstein needs Sullivan and that Sullivan is undertaking this task to aid a needy defendant both appear to be bogus. Weinstein has millions to pay the best lawyers to represent him. And Sullivan’s motives appear to be monetary and for the fame derived.

    1. I long respected Alan Dershowitz, but when he took Jeffrey Epstein’s case (which had some very disquieting aspects, not least of which was a Federal prosecutor’s office being as solicitous, if not more so, of Epstein’s welfare and convenience as was his defense team) that defense wavered.

      Jeffrey Epstein was accused of serial statutory rape, and procuring the underage girls he bedded for others as well. However, I briefly let myself forget that even a Jeffrey Epstein deserves the best defense available. Dershowitz did no other than his duty as an attorney.

      The problem was that the prosecutors in the case were either less motivated or less competent than Dershowitz and his associates. There’s a third possibility of why prosecutors are less than zealous when trying a child molestation case when a multi-millionaire is a defendant.

  4. The demands for resignations and firings from the sanctimonious left should be summarily rejected and then rigorously ignored. Perhaps the left would like to do away with due process altogether by simply demanding that attorneys who represent criminal defendants be disbarred. Let’s all go burn our copies of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” while we’re at it.

    1. i have seen more than several lawyers insulted, mocked, hounded by certain leftist groups operating as fake law public interest law firms…. for representing people they considered racist, alt right, nativist, whatever their target du jour is.

      they want to make it so only their friends can get a lawyer!

      then their political opponents will be totally screwed.

      understand how critical lawyers are in our society. force multipliers!

  5. lol at scumbag, hypocrite Republicans posting here… You have no moral/ethical high ground anymore after Trump. Nobody is going to listen to you so just go back to your ‘Drudge Report’. I disagree with censorship and don’t think the dean should resign or that he has done anything wrong by the way… But again, f_ck the neck bearded conservatives and Republicans that think anyone here gives a shit what they think.

    1. Dweeb,…
      – I didn’t know that the issue of legal representation for Weinstein was even a Democratic/ Republican issue before I read your comment.

      1. “Dweeb,…
        – I didn’t know that the issue of legal representation for Weinstein was even a Democratic/ Republican issue before I read your comment.”

        Tom, it isn’t except for the mentally deficient.

    2. Derp,
      “scumbag, hypocrite Republicans posting here… You have no moral/ethical high ground anymore”

      And neither do you with vicious ad hominems demonizing those you disagree with.

    3. And what makes you think it’s just Republicans posting all the Pro America, Pro Constitution, Pro Rule of Law things on here that you have so obviously been triggered by?
      Or is it that equal under the law stuff you clearly despise that has your panties in such a bunch?
      Remember, Pelosi isn’t yet President and the 21st Century Nuremberg Laws for White Conservatives haven’t gone into effect yet, so for now your only recourse is to pull your undies outta your crack, knock back a pint of whiskey and get the hell over it.

    4. you are a potty mouth sir! and typically your kind don’t have the cojones to say anything like that to a person’s face, just a big internet talker

      also neckbeards are usually “hipsters” and leftists

    5. I think I’ll vote for Trump in 2020 for no reason but to annoy the Left. Thanks for helping me make that decision.

  6. Normally I would say that an attorney should not be criticized for representing “bad” people. That is what lawyers are supposed to do. But I believe that the dean does not have a typical law practice in which he regularly represents clients of all types. Rather, the dean’s full-time job is to be a Harvard dean. As such, he only occasionally represents clients and is (and should be) more selective about those he wants to represent. In doing so, the dean should carefully weigh how his selection of a client might impact his role as a university dean. It seems to me, therefore, that the dean gave greater weight to the (probably very large) fee he will be paid by Weinstein and to the publicity the dean will derive from this representation than he gave to his role as dean. So in this case I believe that the dean was wrong and that Harvard should give him the alternative of giving up this client or giving up his Harvard position.

    1. Rather, the dean’s full-time job is to be a Harvard dean.

      He’s a clinical faculty member who maintains an active law practice.

    2. Seems to me he was attempting to set a good example of representing even those people who you probably personally find reprehensible but who are also worthy of good representation in court. Following in the footsteps of John Adams.

    3. RDKAY, as a faculty member are you suggesting that he only take cases that everyone in the student body agrees with? A faculty member should be a leader not a follower. He should be leading the charge for representation of all, likeable or not, parties charged with a crime.

      There was a section of Alan Dershowitz’s book, I think Taking the Stand, where he explains why it is important to defend even a guilty party. I had always been somewhat annoyed he took part in certain cases but after reading that my annoyance disappeared. Today watching how the FBI and special prosecutor are acting I recognize even more how valuable a service Alan Dershowitz provided.

        1. I’ve posted this before but RDKAY along with others that haven’t seen the video should view it in its entirety. It is almost like a expose film that we frequently enjoy except it is true and demonstrates how people can be charged and demonized. On victory these same people can become hero’s.

          Anyone commenting on the special prosecutor and FBI actions should see this video from start to finish so they can understand how prosecutions can evolve to threaten ANY individual’s civil liberties.

        2. You are absolutely correct, “absurd x 2” in the dean’s situation. I guarantee that the dean is not representing Weinstein pro bono, but will be getting a very large fee from the defendant. So his high-falutin’ moral attitude has no basis in fact.

    4. “[I]n this case I believe that the dean was wrong and that Harvard should give him the alternative of giving up this client or giving up his Harvard position.”

      This is simply idiotic: An absurd application of the Caesar’s wife standard.

      A criminal attorney should strive to maintain a pristine reputation by representing only people who are not criminals. He or she should only represent clients who are above suspicion.

    5. you arent aware how this works.

      one of my best professors represented a horrible monster in his last death row appeal before he was executed.

      he gave one of the best classes i ever had in my life the day after, and I tell you, i had an excellent education. it was maybe the first time in my law school education that I felt really good about my choice to go to law school and could see the critical importance of the rule of law for our society

      clinical faculty who actually practice law are indispensible

      representing diverse clientele including “bad guys” is a cornerstone of our profession. it is highly respected by real lawyers who go to court.

  7. Ha, ha, Harvard. Bastion of liberal arts, now victim of liberal censorship. “We decide who’s guilty. We decide what they are guilty of. Comply or die.”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Crap on the liberally unwashed; be crapped on by the liberal filthy.

  8. I’ve never been a fan of Harvey Weinstein. But if I was a lawyer(and I’m not) I would still defend Mr. Weinstein. I chose a profession to represent people(even the most despicable). I still believe that you have a right to do process, you are innocent until proven guilty. When I was young I remember hearing stories about Jewish lawyers defending KKK members and Nazis. Me and Harvey Weinstein are polar opposites, but the America I know would still give him his day in court. Maybe at Harvard sanity has left the premises, but hopefully at other law schools our civil liberties are still protected.

  9. “whether Sullivan can continue as dean after he agreed to represent accused sexual harassers Harvey Weinstein and Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer.”

    I think we should close down Harvard and let all of them dig ditches for a year. Certainly no lawyer should ever be produced by that group of petitioners.

    “At one rally, Hilda M. Jordan objected to the representation and declared “You are a faculty dean, not just an attorney.””

    To which he should have replied and you are an idiot.

    1. Remember Fran Leibowtiz remark: “The only publication I read is the National Enquirer, which is just as accurate as any other publication and somewhat more colorful”? There was a time when that was a joke.

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