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News > U.S.

Harvard Law Professor Sacked for Joining Weinstein Defense Team

  • Film producer Harvey Weinstein faces numerous charges of sexual assault, rape, and felony and will go to trial in September.

    Film producer Harvey Weinstein faces numerous charges of sexual assault, rape, and felony and will go to trial in September. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 May 2019

Due to dozens of complaints filed by Harvard students, Prof. Ronald Sullivan Jr. and his wife were removed from deanships, the university said Saturday.

Harvard law professor, Ronald Sullivan Jr., has been fired from serving as deans at the prestigious university due to his involvement in defense of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, University Dean Rakesh Khurana announced Saturday.


Weinstein Company Folds, Taking With it Victim Compensation

"Over the last few weeks, students and staff have continued to communicate concerns about the climate in the Winthrop House to the college," Khurana said in an email, noting that the concerns have been serious and numerous.

"The actions that have been taken to improve the climate have been ineffective, and the noticeable lack of faculty dean presence during critical moments has further deteriorated the climate in the house. I have concluded that the situation in the house is untenable," Khurana said.

Both Sullivan and his wife have been let go and will end their term serving as deans of Harvard's undergraduate houses at the close of the month.

Since January, students have expressed their frustration with Sullivan’s position on the Weinstein case which is scheduled for trial on Sept. 9, 2019.

The former film producer is facing five felony charges, two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual acts in the first degree, one count of first-degree rape and another count of third-degree rape. He maintains he is innocent of any nonconsensual sexual acts.

Shortly after accepting the offer to join Weinstein’s defense team in late January, a long email was sent to Harvard tutors and undergraduates. In it, Sullivan defended his decision saying that even people who seem to be “guilty, unpopular, vile or undesirable” deserve the “same process as everyone else.”

"To the degree we deny unpopular defendants basic due process rights we cease to be the country we imagine ourselves to be. In fact, most of the due process rights we hold dearest derive from lawyers who represented unpopular defendants," Sullivan wrote.

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