Harvard Fires First Black ‘Masters’ for Representing Harvey Weinstein

Harvard women protesting
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JOEL B. POLLAK

Harvard University has declined to renew the contracts of “faculty deans” Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. and Stephanie R. Robinson because Mr. Sullivan, an attorney, is representing disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in court.

A decade ago, the couple became the first African-American “masters” of a Harvard “house” — namely, Winthrop House, one of twelve undergraduate dormitories modeled after the “colleges” of Oxford and Cambridge. (The title was changed from “master” to “faculty dean” in 2016, after complaints that “master” might “trigger” hurt feelings in black students, despite Harvard’s abolitionist past.)

When Ron Sullivan accepted a position on Weinstein’s criminal defense team, students began protesting, and the college launched an investigation into the “climate” at Winthrop House.

That culminated in a capitulation by the university this week, as the Harvard Crimson reported Sunday:

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced that he will not renew Winthrop Faculty Deans Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. and Stephanie R. Robinson after their term ends on June 30 in an email to House affiliates Saturday morning.

The decision comes after more than three months of activism and outcry surrounding Sullivan’s decision to represent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — who stands accused of rape — and a day after The Crimson reported allegations brought by Winthrop students, tutors, and staff of a toxic environment under Sullivan and Robinson stretching back years.

Khurana wrote in his email to Winthrop residents that he decided not to renew Sullivan and Robinson’s faculty dean appointments because the environment in the House was “untenable.”

Sullivan and Robinson wrote in an emailed statement to The Crimson they were surprised by the College’s decision and that Harvard “unilaterally” ended discussions they were having with University representatives.

Read the full Crimson article here.

Khurana has been at the center of other controversial decisions, such as a new policy barring students from joining same-sex organization — a decision aimed at elite all-male “final clubs” that had the effect of banning women’s groups.

Sullivan and Robinson will remain professors at Harvard Law School.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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