Harvard Law Professor Fired After Representing Harvey Weinstein Releases Fiery Statement

Harvey Weinstein with lawyer Ronald Sullivan
TIMOTHY A. CLARY /Getty

Former Harvard Law School Professor Ronald S. Sullivan released a statement last week addressing his termination from the university, which came after he represented Harvey Weinstein. According to Sullivan, “What is at stake are the values that underwrite the best traditions of higher education, the very same traditions that have sustained Harvard for nearly 400 years.”

Professor Ronald S. Sullivan was fired from his position at Harvard Law School after his decision to represent ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Students at Harvard circulated a petition calling for Sullivan’s termination. The petition defended Sullivan’s right to represent Weinstein but argued that his decision to do so made him incompatible with the Harvard community.

To be perfectly explicit: I am not saying Dean Sullivan should not be defending Weinstein. I am saying that in his role as a House Dean, his defense of such a figure induces a great amount of fear and hurt in victims of the crimes that Weinstein is accused of, and although anyone facing the law is innocent until proven guilty, the scope of the Weinstein case still literally shakes people on this campus to this day. His role on Weinstein’s team, and position as a community leader, are NOT mutually exclusive and the former has incredibly harmful implications for the latter.

Campus Reform highlighted a video this week by Sullivan, in which he makes the case that his termination was improper. In the video, Sullivan argues that, by firing him, Harvard undermined the values of the American legal system, where every person deserves a proper defense.

“What’s at stake here is not my future, or ours, or even our family’s. We will be fine,” Sullivan says in the video. “What is at stake are the values that underwrite the best traditions of higher education, the very same traditions that have sustained Harvard for nearly 400 years. In America, everyone is entitled to a defense, in America, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and in America, everyone is entitled to due process of law under our Constitution.”

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