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. I spoke with my friend who owns a large bank system. He is hiring a new law grad this year. He has a choice between grads from Univ of Chicago, Univ of MO at Kansas City, and Harvard. The one from Harvard is not now going to be accepted.

    1. Companies across the country routinely blacklist graduates from colleges and universities that teach Anti-American systemized hate, bullying, intolerance for other views and lunacy 101. 
      They are too much of a liability because they continue their little facist  brownshirt routines of violating Americans Constitutional and Civil Rights like they did at school in corporate settings and too much time, resources and money is wasted dealing with their sick vicious little bully games that can easily quickly escalate into dangerous situations.
      Ultimately it’s more productive to hire someone who knows what they are there for, how to work and behave and spend time and money upgrading their knowledge and skills than to condem the company and other staff to years of misery stuck with some AOC or Maxine Waters wannabe running around trying to overtly or covertly bring the company down for the cause.

  2. Much of academia created this monster. It’s time for them to show some fortitude and not cave into these unreasonable demands. If they allow themselves to be controlled they get what they deserve. I’ll have no sympathy for them.

    1. Darren:
      I always loved that scene in Mary Shelley’s masterpiece where the monster confronts his creator:

      “He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish.”
      ~Frankenstein Ch. 24.

      From you lips, my dear monster to God’s ear ….

  3. Students with these antiquated as in pre 1776 attitudes have no busy cluttering up the nation with their ‘uneducated’ opinions until they have at least demonstrated a smidgen of knowledge in the subject area. Were they even citizens?

  4. Harvard students need to match MIT Blackjack Team in Las Vegas…To pay off their student loans. All that’s required is middle school math.

  5. The decision by the dean to take Weinstein’s case is probably less troublesome for him than his representation of Roland Fryer. I’m of the opinion that he should have focused his efforts on the Fryer case and simply passed on the Weinstein case.

  6. More proof of the cancerous nature of left-wing ideology on the body politic. It’s not just anti-American; it’s anti-Western. As was pointed out above, years before there was an America there was a John Adams and his successful defense of the British military contingent at the Boston Massacre in 1770. Acquittals for all in a hostile environment and Adams was so “stigmatized” he won the Presidential election of 1796 over none other than Thomas Jefferson among others.

    1. Time, Mespo, is like the Air. Sometimes it’s cool clean and lovely, other times it’s full of toxic clouds of sulferous exudate, methane effluents and noxious leaden verbage. We are all subject to time and all that it encompasses. Let’s just hope that one generations toxic crap doesn’t poison the next.

      1. Becka G:

        “Let’s just hope that one generations toxic crap doesn’t poison the next.”

        No worries, usually the cold winds of reality dissipate the fog left by the previous generation!

  7. i have represented some notorious clients in the past and caught hell from the media

    in other cases i was praised. the media says whatever they like,. i say nothing to them in either case.

    colleagues in the local bar never condemned me for representing people or organizations that were on the “politically incorrect” list. I felt i have always been treated fairly by judges.

    we live in a great country, it still is in many ways

  8. “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.”

    John Adams.

  9. (music- to the tune of Rednecks!)
    ..went in dumb, come out dumb too.
    Husltlin round Boston in my alligator shoes..
    Drunk on the weekends at the bar be ques…

    We’re Har Vard. Har Vard!
    We don’t know our arse from a hole in the ground.
    We are Harvard, Harvard….
    We are keeping that Jew guy down.

    1. L2 your brains are scrambled and you clearly know nothing about Boston or Hahvad.
      L2 L2 sticky dum as the gum on yer shoe…He’s unhappy so you should be too!

  10. About time. There should be a huge social stigma for the types of scum that defend people like Weinstein and white collar criminals. While these types of lawyers are necessary they should not be part of the elite but outcasts. That a bottom feeding lawyer is a dean at a prestigious university shows how our social structures are all screwed up.

    1. Because, you know, everyone accused is guilty, at least if they’re in your personal basket of deplorables.

      You could improve the quality of civic life in this country by self-deporting.

    2. you’re full of malarkey.

      every accused person here is entitled to a defense, even a rich guy or a racist or the lowest scum

      this is a fundamental of our system of fair justice.
      and it protects us all.

      1. Mr. Kurtz I disagree. The not so thin line between having money or not having money makes the ‘every accused person’ argument extremely debatable. A defense is not a defense if it is short shrifted through cost, experience, timeliness, or ability not to mention willingness of counsel to go the distance. Our so called laws are not only bought and sold by our Representatives they are actively undermined by the manner in which many of todays Lawyers are guided purely by bottom line $$$$ thinking(and allowed and encouraged to do so). Not to mention the very common practice of Lawyers billing till a person is bankrupt and then dropping the case because the ‘client’ can no longer afford their services. I suppose there are other professions that behave that way, let’s see……oh yeah…..that one.

        1. The vast bulk of the manpower devoted to criminal defense is in the hands of public defenders (and the vast majority of their clients are guilty as hell).

          1. “hands of public defenders (and the vast majority of their clients are guilty as hell).”

            What helps to protect the innocent that do not have the best of representation?

            The very excellent high priced attorney’s that force the prosecutors to actually prove guilt. I think Alan Dershowitz says that such defense even of guilty parties has made it so that when prosecutor takes the case the likelihood of guilt is higher than ever.

        2. In this great country, and trust me compared to a place like China, which is supposedly our rival, and sends nearly everybody accused of a crime to jail; yes compared to them, this is a great country, with a great and fair system of justice:

          here, persons accused of a felony crime, are entitled to a publicly funded and paid for lawyer if they are not able to afford one.

          And they need only swear they can’t afford one. Suspects have been known to lie through their teeth but they still get one. It is due process and a constitutional civil liberty that protects us all!

          And many criminal defense lawyers who work as “public defenders” are actually quite good. both state and federal, though the federal ones have a better reputation. In my neck of the woods, there is one who is probably, easily, the best. He is for hire and he is also on the “CJA panel”


          at the same time if you hire the wrong lawyer of course you can get a bad result. sometimes a good lawyer gets a bad result too.

          Mike Tyson hired a good lawyer but one inexperienced in criminal defense,. He had a bad result and might have done a lot better if he had a public defender. Results vary

      1. I imagine ‘Anon’ is taking this shift or Jill or Sam / Chris P. Bacon.

  11. If your kid goes to Harvard Law School he or she can be described as Harvard DumbukFays in pig latin. I know, they don’t accept pigs at Harvard. Or Latin. But the two go together like horse and buggies. If you have a brain, don’t be lame. Ivy League is like English lords. Lard on Sunday and Crisco on Monday. You people at Harvard think your itShay don’t stink. It is all in what you drink. By the way. Who is Harvey Weinstein?

    1. Really L2? Coming from Boston I can tell you Hahvad is not so snooty. Anyone can get a Hahvad degree through the night school…..more serious, less silly (although Silliness is extremely valued in those hallowed Halls), less pricey, same teachers and same content. If I were still in Ma. I would do it in a heartbeat. And my Mother went to a Seven Sisters school, she was neither dumb nor lame nor Lordish. Tell me though, cuz you sound a little green, are you not a weeeee bit jealous??????

  12. I am both saddened and disgusted by the position taken by Dean Sullivan’s student critics. I will be making the trek to Cambridge in June for my 50th class reunion and look forward to engaging undergraduates I encounter (as well as my classmates) on this and other issues relating to the increasing assault on free speech and academic freedom on the nation’s campuses.

    1. Mike Appleton,
      Will you be writing a blog post about the experience? I would love to hear how it goes.

    2. ” look forward to engaging undergraduates I encounter”

      Take a gun. 🙂

      I am not suggesting you shoot anyone only that sometimes one has to protect themselves.

  13. Do they teach history anymore? More specifically, do they teach about the events leading to our independence from Great Britain? Boston Massacre? John Adams?

    Perhaps they should gather the names of those opposed to the presumption of innocence and the legal council of their choosing. Inform them that their opposition will be a matter of record in the unfortunate event they are accused of a crime. This would certainly guarantee a speedy trial.

  14. So there are now people who are so guilty they don’t deserve a defense or a fair trial. And these are the future lawyers of America. It won’t be long until the labor camps open for “re-education” of people who still believe in the rule of law.

  15. Dateline February 20ish
    Cambridge Mass.
    Harvard Law Professor Ronald Sullivan, was savagely attacked and eviscerated by a vicious gang of roosting chickens today.  This is the 3rd time this week this horde of highly dangerous evil avian thugs have visited their reign of terror on him. There seems to be little indication the attacks will end anytime soon.
    After spending years indoctrinating millieflakes in the high art of acting out hysterical mob rule emotionalism and indiscriminate bullying hatred and outrage based solely on feelings and their own internal ignorant voices and delusions, why would professors who taught these students that this behavior is the way they are entitled to live life, conduct themselves in society and is a valuable tool for moving civilization foward think they would now respond with logic, facts discrimination or discernment?
    Welcome home roosting chickens.

  16. Two principles above all others supports this nation’s legal system: 1) freedom of speech, and 2) due process of law/equal representation under the law. We are in danger of losing both.

  17. “It appears that even the representation of people accused of sexual harassment is now considered its a threatening or improper act.”
    Lawyers, Judges,Kavanaughs…..too many times the ‘law’ has failed the public. There is such an overwhelming rift now between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ that the ‘stolen from’ and ‘lied to…’ are no longer willing to put any faith in the system that has proved itself so very unfaithful….. IMHO.

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