US: Law professor representing Harvey Weinstein dropped as faculty dean
A law professor representing Harvey Weinstein in his upcoming rape and sexual assault trial has been dropped from his position as a faculty dean at Harvard Law School.
Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr and his wife, fellow law lecturer Stephanie Robinson, will no longer be faculty deans of Winthrop House, one of 12 undergraduate residential houses at the university, CNN reports.
The move follows a backlash over Professor Sullivan’s decision to represent Mr Weinstein, who was accused of sexual crimes by a number of Hollywood celebrities, sparking the #MeToo movement.
He had previously written to students in January to advise them that he was taking on Mr Weinstein as a client, insisting that “unpopular defendants” still had “basic due process rights”.
However, students questioned his decision as rape and sexual assault have become increasingly prominent issues on campus.
In a statement, Professor Sullivan and Mrs Robinson said: “We are surprised and dismayed by the action Harvard announced today. We believed the discussions we were having with high level University representatives were progressing in a positive manner, but Harvard unilaterally ended those talks.
“We will now take some time to process Harvard’s actions and consider our options.
“We are sorry that Harvard’s actions and the controversy surrounding us has contributed to the stress on Winthrop students at this already stressful time.”
The pair’s terms as deans were due to end on June 30. Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana said he had decided not to renew their roles after that date.
“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,” wrote Mr Khurana.
“I have concluded that the situation in the House is untenable.”