Harvard Betrays a Law Professor — and Itself

Misguided students believe that defending Harvey Weinstein makes Ronald Sullivan unfit to be their dean. Apparently the university agrees.

Comments: 205

  1. YES. And yes. And double yes. I was disheartened to see Harvard make this decision, no matter how repugnant I think Mr. Weinstein's behavior was. This is a different matter. I sympathize with the righteous indignation of the students; I don't sympathize with their need to feel comfortable above all else. Ultimately Harvard needs to be the grownup and understand the true issues at play here and weather this storm. I appreciate the author's measured approach and wish the College had taken the same path.

  2. In India, lawyers’ associations have sometimes prohibited their members from defending people accused of sexual assault and murder of children, thus undermining the assumption in a democracy that everyone is entitled to legal representation. The media worldwide has also participated in presenting accused as guilty, thus undermining the basic principle of law - that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and making it hard for the accused to get a fair trial. The US, led by its young people, is rapidly going in the same direction.

  3. Just an aside: I think it is misleading to assume “that a person is innocent until proven guilty.” While it is true that our criminal justice system requires that guilty be established “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that does not necessarily translate into innocence if that requirement is not met. While there are certainly those who are wrongly accused, based on my years of work in the courts I would suggest that most people who are arrested are guilty of at least something related to the charges brought against them. They may not end up being convicted but that could be due to the “reasonable doubt” barrier or some legal technicality. This presumption of innocence thing often leads people who don’t know any better to assume that charges that do not lead to a conviction represent exoneration.

  4. @Mikes 547 The burden of proof lies with the state.

  5. @Larry Dickman Is there not a conclusion in some jurisdictions (Scotland?) of "not proven", which means just that? A third position to "guilty" or "innocent"...

  6. I know only what I read, though I do know Harvard and its culture. The Times has portrayed this story in terms of "dissident students," those pesky, spoiled kids who like to complain about every little slight. The Times has also depicted this story as a predictable clash over gender and race. This editorial refers to a piece in the Crimson, but in fact there have been a number in the student newspaper, and they point to years of serious and documented concerns on the part of both students and tutors. This may be coming to a head now with a dispute that triggers all our collective sensitive around race, class, gender, and age, but the story appears to be deeper, more complicated, and more troubling than the Times allows. Perhaps the Times could invite a student from Winthrop house to explain their perspective? Perhaps the Times could do a bit of, oh why not, reporting? Blaming this on a few disgruntled students seems to be at best narrow-minded. There's more to this story.

  7. @Natty As a twenty-year academic, I can tell you that this recipe is tried and true. First, satisfy the felt needs of the community for a superficial enforcement of justice, conformity or their admixture and; second, then make it an issue of 'competence.' It's like making coffee: first, place beans in the hopper; second, turn on the grinder, etc. It is as old as the academe, and as effective as it is corrosive. For that reason, I'll choose to accept the word of a colleague who has known Prof. Sullivan for thirty years over the zeitgeist. I've seen this too many times. I support and confirm each and every founding reason for the #metoo movement; as a movement it is essential and overdue, and that is entirely, categorically irrelevant to what has happened at Harvard this week. And tragically, Harvard itself has now muddied what should be a straightforward matter of principle. Today, it is Harvey Weinstein. Tomorrow, it may be an aging and successful ex-senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the dock. Disable principle once, and you have disabled it categorically. That is how principle and procedure work because it is the only way they can. Your first sentence is the dispositive one: You know what you have read. Some of us do know more.

  8. @Natty Why fire them now if there have been "years of serious and documented concerns"? Why weren't they fired years ago, or last year, or the week before he took on Weinstein's representation? It is not more complicated than it appears - he was discharged because of the protests over his representation of a disfavored client. Whether the disgruntled are few or many, and even if he was the worst Dean in history, the real reason for firing cannot be denied or obfuscated and the shame is the same.

  9. @Natty Indeed, Kennedy describes this story as beginning with Sullivan's decision to join the Weinstein team. Really, it's the end of the story. Sullivan has been problematic at Winthrop for a long time and had no credibility left with the students by the time the Weinstein case came along. If Sullivan had been a liked and respected Faculty Dean, he might have had a better shot at defending his choice to take Weinstein as a client. Kennedy paints a rosy and dated picture of Sullivan's client list. Of late, Sullivan has taken on only money-makers, not change-makers.

  10. The philosophy of society and government often worry about how humans, even oppressed humans, behave when angry ( even if righteously so). Sometimes it seems that because men have behaved so bad for so long ( some of them at least) we now have overreaction backlash that’s almost Maoist in terms of purity litmus tests. The advocacy community in nonprofits and philanthropy is similar in attitudes to these students. Such is our culture.

  11. I don't practice law anymore, though I did take a moment to memorialize my thirty-sixth law school graduation anniversary this past Monday. I was proud to be a member of a profession in which one represents a client zealously, including criminal matters where so many such clients are not the nicest of people, so to say. I was also proud to have worked in a law firm that had a history of representing unpopular people and causes pro bono because that is the American legal way. Professor Sullivan took on these kinds of clients, from the poor to the wealthy because they needed a lawyer. That is the way it is supposed to work. The problem at Harvard is a problem affecting our society at large. Our young people need to be mentored to grow up. They are not being given any favors by being coddled and having their delusion about safe spaces taken to crippling extremes by the adults. And, if being around a lawyer like Professor Sullivan is trauma-inducing, then those young people are too immature to attend university, much less a Harvard. The leadership at Harvard has much to be embarrassed about.

  12. @Cousy Perks and privileges are trivial matters and are irrelevant to the question of a fair trial. While I might consider Weinstein a grub (but really have no admissible evidence to prove it) he has a right to representation and a fair trial. If you are a law student arguing against this representation, you need to chose a different career because you do not understand due process.

  13. @Jerry Thank you for your comments. I agree with you. The immaturity and lack of intelligent judgment on the part of the students is troubling. Demeaning a well respected faculty member without understanding our judicial system is an insult to those faculty and students who promote civil discourse. The Harvard administration's response and unjust actions are outrageous and so hypocritical to the principles of open minded education.

  14. @Cousy So you are saying that Sullivan failed to meet the standards of a faculty dean but the students and administration lacked the courage to confront his shortcomings until he took on an unpopular client. This is a defense?

  15. What Harvard should have done was to take this episode as an opportunity to educate its presumably bright students in the fundamental ideas that are the basis of our system of justice. A sober discussion of the issues was in order. It clearly did not take place.

  16. @donmintz Bright students? As we know there are many types of intelligence. Street smarts, empathy, artistic, etc. Maybe Harvard's idea of bright is wrong or limited. Maybe it creates narrow minded people who can not think for themselves. I was class of 1962.

  17. @donmintz Then we'd have to talk about the reality that victims of sexual assault, primarily women, are raped by the perpetrator and then raped over and over and over again by a system of 'justice' that's fundamental ideas include violating and re-violating the victim over and over and over and over again. That would indeed make for a very sober discussion.

  18. @Tee By using “rape” as a metaphor, you diminish the very real violence of actual rape.

  19. It makes for sad commentary when professional educators have to seek their students' approval for associations having nothing to do with educational responsibilities. This constant need for student "comfort" is undermining not just education but society now and in the future.

  20. @Rick Papin Amen! It's like the absurdness of Mount Holyoke College -- still a woman's college and the oldest in the US at that -- having to change a logo because there might be a non-female identified student attending who would be excluded or offended. Get a grip, people! Like our politics, society is losing its ability to remain flexible and to reason.

  21. @Rick Papin They don't have to seek their students' approval in regards to their educational responsibilities. They have to earn their students' trust in regards to mentorship and counseling roles, however. This man wasn't fired from the university. He was removed as Dean of a residential hall, after student protest triggered a hall-wide climate survey to determine if he had, indeed, lost the trust of his charges. Those who lived in that house determined that they did not trust or want him as their advisor and Dean. That should be their choice to make. If he had been fired as a professor - which he wasn't - the outrage expressed in these comments would be appropriate. But he wasn't, and it isn't.

  22. @Rick Papin It's not just offering "comfort", it's giving those students a false sense of power that life will, in short order, disabuse them of. Totally a disservice to students.

  23. The highest calling of a lawyer is to defend the despised criminal defendant. It is a sacred duty of the legal profession.

  24. @Sherril Nell Wells Imagine a world in which the most sacred duty of the legal profession was to protect the rapist's victim.

  25. @Tee It is that, too. Please learn a bit about our adversarial legal system.

  26. Even us non-lawyers know, that the defendant has the constitutional right to a lawyer. Good thing, in hopes that no innocent person will go to jail. (And I do not know if Mr. Sullivan should have been fired or if Mr. Weinstein is guilty of all he has been accused of.) But, when high paid lawyers, who know that their client is guilty of nefarious criminal behavior, declare that they they are defending the 'process' not the person, it just sounds morally hollow. Their rationale appears as having conveniently malleable and pliable ethics. Lawyerese justification, for putting their compromised conscience and integrity aside, which is very difficult to respect or admire. Then, when we learn of the fat paychecks these attorneys will get for defending rich, high-profile cases, we realize what 'process,' they are really defending.

  27. Because I have worked in it, I have known literally scores of people in academia who have been treated with great unfairness, chased out of jobs despite clear competence for a very large variety of what seem to be tangential reasons. It seems to be part of the nature of the place, to be embroiled in things about which people are often irrational. While it sounds as if this is yet another case of that, it's not even close the worst I've heard. It's sort of the nature of the profession, and people who aren't ready for that might want to work elsewhere. What disturbs me is the very proposition that lawyers should be held to account for who they represent. As far as I'm concerned that's the real and only issue here, and all the overlay of culture wars--on either side--should be irrelevant. So I come out on the same side as the author, but for a much simpler reason that would have made, perhaps, a much shorter column. It seems at some level hypocritical, in fact, to argue that we should consider any cultural factors of any kind when we decide this case. Lawyers are not who they represent, and the right to counsel must include an absolute right to be counsel--for anyone.

  28. @Keith. But why choose to represent a very wealthy, powerful man who, unless dozens of women are lying, is almost certainly a serial rapist? The answer is for money and notoriety. Why should Sullivan not be criticized for his choice? What compelling social need is he addressing?

  29. @Sparky You could make the same argument about any lawyer choosing to defend Weinstein, which means you're asserting that no lawyer should defend him. That in turn means you're asserting that there cannot be a court trial to prosecute Weinstein under our system of law. Is that really what you want? I certainly hope that Weinstein is tried, and convicted, if the charges against him are true.

  30. @V.B. Zara. First off, Weinstein is entitled to a public defender, so the idea that he won't have legal representation is simply wrong. And I'm sure there are hundreds of lawyers who would love to take a high profile, lucrative case like Weinstein. But if you are also in charge of a house of hundreds of college students where issues of sexual harassment and consent are hot button issues perhaps you should not be the attorney to take the case. Let's not pretend there is some grand purpose here, Sullivan wanted the money and notoriety. He is not a victim.

  31. In 1770, John Adams undertook the legal defense of the British soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre, and he was vilified for it. He persevered because of the belief that no man in a free country should be denied the right to counsel and a fair trial. It seems that 250 years later, in Boston, such a belief is being questioned again.

  32. @Ignacio Gotz yes, Adams considered it a patriotic act by showing the British that the American colonists were reasonable and governed by laws, not a rabble. so ironic that this is happening in the same city 250 years later.

  33. @Ignacio Gotz John Adams was a professional lawyer, not a University Dean moonlighting as a lawyer. If he was a University Dean, and the University was looking to get rid of him, they could easily use that case as part of a dismissal. You do have to understand that Harvard has a claim to the people they hire as Deans. Deans are not simply people drawing a paycheck while they go to California and practice law there. Many people are framing this as you do: that WEINSTEIN has a right to legal advise. However frame it this way: HARVARD has a right to expect their employees avoid some unsavory situations (you know, because they WORK for the Harvard). Weinstein can afford any lawyer. The Dean should have recommended a California lawyer (or another lawyer with a California law license).

  34. @Ignacio Gotz Great response!

  35. This story is less about Mssrs. Sullivan and Weinstein, and more about Harvard itself: like so many colleges today, its administration feels comfortable adopting a stance that is popular, not principled, so that protesting students may feel comfortable too. The comfortable college, its comfortable administration, and its comfortable students whose protest led to success will come to realize such protest led to a failure far more enormous than this one incident, and Professor Kennedy's views are articulate understatement.

  36. The problem at Harvard is the problem at the UC system is the problem at the University of Sydney is the problem all over: many students are simply spoiled brats, empowered by lazy parents and entitled by a system that never demanded actual effort for recognition, ie to merely show up at soccer was to merit a ribbon. Not only are students spoiled, but they also lack empathy, good manner, common sense and common courtesy. They’ve never been encouraged to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes. As I was growing up, the day didn’t pass at school or home when some form of excellence wasn’t DEMANDED by adults, some form of high moral standards be evidenced and enacted, also daily. Those moral standards could not be confined to donating money, they were required to be actions. My students now (I teach at a uni) are hyper-competitive, only interested learning in what will definitely be on the test and couldn’t care less about their fellow classmates, much less the great unknowns. And they seem to have no concepts of justice, ethical behaviour, and justice? Forget about it.

  37. @Meeka That's because the universities are charging them $100,000 for their 4 years of education. If I'm paying $100,000, I should be able to make demands of the seller. Otherwise, I'll buy my education at a competitor university. When we had free public college education, paid through taxes, the educators were running the show, and they could set whatever standards they want. Same with private universities that were living off their endowments, rather than tuition. You DEMAND $100,000 from me? I DEMAND an A in all my courses.

  38. @Meeka They have to be hype-competitive to survive. What are you doing to change American culture so that this isn't the case?

  39. @Norman So when you pay high prices to go to a sports event, do you DEMAND that your team wins? When you buy an expensive car, do you DEMAND that every other driver give you extra space to avoid scratches? Good luck with all that, and by the way, I DEMAND that you stop feeling so entitled.

  40. What will it be like to work with these students, to supervise them as new employees or, God forbid, to be supervised by them? What will it be like to be their neighbor or the parent of their children's classmate? What has become of resilience and toughness, what was fashionably called "grit" a few years ago? We will get what we deserve from this crop of graduates: dysfunction at every level of American community. If this is the best that Harvard can do, we are doomed.

  41. Bureaucrats are risk averse,albeit sometimes inept at calculating risk. Now that bureaucrats are in charge of the academic world we can expect more of this rule of the mob. Unfortunately there will be more mobs on both sides.

  42. @RG Right, so act two should be another twitter-mob, just as half-blind, defending the take down of (yet another) accomplished black man? Things might get confusing, even for the bright young things at Harvard.

  43. One doesn't need a Harvard education to recognize that these students would not be good defense lawyers. It's shameful that Harvard's administration submitted to student demands that are purely based on emotions and personal feelings not facts. I am no fan of Harvey Weinstein, but he too deserves the best defense.

  44. One additional thing to note: graffiti has been used in political protests since Ancient Egypt. Nothing new there.

  45. And yet these Harvard Law students will be the first ones hired and with the highest starting salaries.

  46. I am simply aghast at the reaction of students of an eminent college like Harvard. These students are the future of the country or perhaps many countries. Without having any formal degree in law, even I can confidently say that every man and woman (until proven and declared guilty by the highest court) has a right to defend itself till his or her last breath and no professional should be convicted for rendering his services in that pursuit. It is disappointing to see that students are more hooked to reputation effect generated by mass media than appealing to their sense of justice and right of equal representation.

  47. Elite universities pride themselves on diversity, freedom of speech. Increasingly it seems to be anything but. Students at Harvard should be reminded of the constitutional rights afforded to all it's citizens. More importantly, a University such as Harvard, educating the next generation of our countries leaders, should remind its students that contending with arguments they may not agree with is an important part of becoming a good citizen...

  48. Perhaps the root of the problem is that universities allow faculty to have private businesses on the side. Why aren't teaching and doing research considered a full-time job? Don't universities pay faculty enough so that they need to moonlight? Aren't the 3 months in the summer long enough for them to pick up an extra buck or two? Just asking.

  49. @Len Charlap Because it is a good idea if Professors know something about what they teach. Actually getting out in the real world and practicing what you preach ensures that the ivory tower is not sealed off from reality. A real courtroom is vastly different than a classroom. The real problem is with faculty that don't leave campus.

  50. @David - If they feel a necessity to get out in the "real world", they can take a leave to do so. Done all the time. I have done it myself.

  51. @Len Charlap No, they don't pay enough. And what if Professor Sullivan had taken this case in the summer? Do you think that would have made the poor dears "feel safe" since it wasn't during the regular semester?

  52. Harvard botched the opportunity to educate its undergraduates regarding the presumption of innocence, the constitutional right of an accused to a defense, the duty of an attorney to represent a client, and the fact that there is no right or expectation that one will always feel "safe" (although the unsafe charge is clearly pretext). (Recall Yale's 2015 "shrieking student" embarrassment.) By definition, most college students are immature, but Harvard's challenge is to encourage maturity, not yield to childish demands.

  53. Harvey Weinstein can afford a strong defense and he's got a right to it. That should not be a problem. The problem is people who cannot afford a strong defense do not get that right. Also, the public is entitled to a strong prosecution. And judges are obligated to keep the process focused on the facts.

  54. Academic freedom? No, not us. We're Harvard. Nothing new here---they fired their president for expressing an opinion that was out of fashion that year. I'm glad they rejected me when I applied, though the place I went wasn't any better.

  55. As a retired criminal defense lawyer my fear is that this kind of thinking will make impossible to select juries who understand that the state [ with its unlimited resources ] must prove a defendant guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

  56. As a Harvard college alum in my late thirties, I find this opinion misguided. The bar for serving as house master/ faculty dean (in loco parentis— as described) is not guided by the bill of rights or pure legal lines; it’s a different set of criteria, requiring that the person/people are trusted / welcoming of all students in both intent and perception. This bar is related to current culture and may evolve accordingly (just as we now apparently call it faculty dean instead of house master... which seems appropriate). Being outspoken on topics that alienate meaningful parts of the student base the college seeks to protect and “counsel” would be disqualifying—I disagree w the author that we would “allow” outspoken religious affiliation (it’s not the affiliation but the “outspoken” part that fails here). The dean of course has the right to act as defense lawyer for Weinstein. As a lawyer, I applaud his commitment to representation of all. If we were debating his fitness to speak on panels or serve as a professor, I would be in defense of professor Sullivan. But we are not — we are talking about the appropriateness of his serving as stand in “parents” to a large group of students already grappling with a challenging (make and privilege dominated) culture. Professor Sullivan should have recognized these things couldn’t be coincident and made the choice himself to step down as faculty dean.

  57. @Lauren Exacly right. It is a conflict of interests.

  58. @Lauren, A thoughtful statement, but a little off, I think. To the extent that house masters sit in loco parentis, their first duty is to give good example--a phrase that some will find quaint, but it has endured for a reason. The master who is merely highly accessible, or exquisitely attuned to current culture, brings nothing to the party.

  59. Like many things in the law, it’s a weighing of the equities. I think the college is right that creating an environment perceived as welcoming and safe is more important than instilling a real life case example of the sixth amendment in undergraduates.

  60. Yet another example of a career damaged (or in some cases destroyed) under the wheels of the 'political correctness' juggernaut. This is a trend that started decades ago. I'm old enough to have witnessed it. As a nation, we have arrived at 'the point of our final destination'......get used to it. Or am I missing something here?

  61. @Kenneth Johnson The biggest mistake is not asking the question of what business does a Harvard (Boston) Dean have taking on THIS extramural case (in California, for a man who can afford a good lawyer). I have at times been affiliated with Universities. And Dean's do actually have a fairly difficult job, and a busy schedule. Their first obligation is to the job they are supposed to be doing. Some Deans do manage to keep active in the non-academic area. Deans have contracts that spell out what they can and cannot do. If the contract says the Dean can take any case he wants ... then he can sue Harvard. If the contract says only cases approved by Harvard, and he did not get that approval, then he SHOULD be dismissed. Don't assume "political correctness" is the situation.

  62. Perhaps we are witnessing a Darwinian metamorphosis of the teaching of law as it must be practiced in the USA now. Our government has degraded to the point where a Kentucky senator can ignore the Constitution and precedent and single handedly change how Supreme Court vacancies are filled. All judicial vacancies are now filled with ideologues who, under antiquated guidelines would have been viewed as unfit. Judicial appointees have been coached to now refuse to state whether Brown v. Board of Education was properly decided; the Republican Senate accepts—smiles upon—this response, and confirms the appointee. Guilt is determined by chants at Presidential rallies. The House of Representatives sees no value in carrying out its Constitutional duties because it knows the Republican Senate will ignore evidence when the time comes for it to sit in judgment. The President announces that an exhaustive investigation that sets out substantial evidence of obstruction of justice has cleared him, and this legal conclusion is enthusiastically supported by his own Attorney General. The students who feed into Harvard in future years will either have been trained (I can’t say educated) in a public school system shaped by Betsey DeVos, or have attended private schools and had their school slots purchased at enormous cost by their TV star parents. Many potentially good students will have been shot in grade school. Harvard is adapting legal education for the nation as we are.

  63. Thank you Mr. Kennedy for the expected response from the legal community. Yes, it is a sacred creed that the excused deserve the best legal representation no matter how horrid there crime. And so deserves Harvey Weinstein. However, that does not mean that the person representing him is the best one to be advising and providing emotional support to young college students who may be subjected to sexual attacks. And I do not think this is the same situation as a leftist leaning student having angst over speaking to a conservative leaning counselor (or an atheist speaking with a Christian). I think it is an entirely different situation when a young girl who has experienced a sexual assault should have as her first line of support within the school hierarchy, an official who is actively defending someone who is widely associated with serial sexual assault of women. This isn’t ‘mob justice,’ this isn’t PC gone overboard, and this isn’t abusing legal doctrines, it’s simply common sense.

  64. @Grubs I think a linguistic difficulty here is in the word "defending". The professor is providing the accused with a basic right that democracies prize, legal defense in a court of law. He is not "defending" the man in the ordinary sense of that word. It's a fine line but it makes all the difference in the world.

  65. No it isn't common sense! You are casting the lawyer as guilty of the crime of the defendant. Just because Sullivan represents a person accused of sexual crimes, does not mean he is sympathetic towards sexual predators, any more than him defending a murderer makes him sympathetic towards killers (or any more likely to commit a murder himself!) Sullivan is not the defendant!

  66. Of course students will hold all sorts of odd beliefs, and in this case, the belief is that Mr. Weinstein does not deserve legal representation. What is indefensible, is that elders at Harvard appear to agree with the students. Harvard, please be reminded and inform your students that the machinery in place to afford Mr. Weinstein due process, is not to benefit the guilty, but it is to benefit the innocent who have been swept up in prosecution.

  67. @Steve Brown I would not go quite that far. It is unacceptable to say that Mr. Weinstein does not deserve legal representation. It is another to say that the Dean of the law school should not moonlight except for cases with exceptional pro bono merit. Weinstein can hire any practicing lawyer. The Dean of Harvard Law is not a practicing lawyer. Is the case pro bono? Why is a Harvard Dean in California all the time? The question should not be whether Weinstein should have a lawyer. He should. The question is when should a University Dean be taking on extramural projects, and what should those projects do for the University? I do have to wonder if there was some other underlying dissatisfaction among the faculty.

  68. @ voting machine To clarify: The Dean is in a position of leadership over a Harvard College residential dormitory for undergraduate college students (a position of honor and responsibility that used to be called “House Master”). He is not the Dean of the Harvard Law School. He is a clinical professor at the Law School. He can take any client he wants, but he has no entitlement to be kept in his position as head of the dormitory complex, including its free housing and many other perks of office.

  69. @ST Thank you for that information and clarification. I mis-read it as "Dean of the Law School".

  70. I, for the most part, agree with the opinion of Kennedy here. But I have a question. Why would Ronald Sullivan take the case for Weinstein? Was it to help Weinstein, or something else? He could not have been naive enough to think any other outcome would result. Did he want to challenge undergraduate over sensitivities as a life’s lesson for them? Did he wish a big blowup that would highlight that oversensitivity cannot trump proper professional behavior? If I believed I was doing excellent and valuable work as an undergraduate Dean, I would not have made the choice Sullivan made. He certainly made a point with his choice, but was it worth it?

  71. No one's narrow minded or misguided views are really being compassionately challenged, and that's what one hopes a college of University would see as their foremost responsibility. There's two things going on here. One, is that everybody's terrified of getting "me-too'd". That's what Harvard's response is about. Every witch hunt demands sacrificial lambs, and no one wants to become the next target, so its easier to just harrumph and condemn Sullivan to the fires. The second, is about the widespread public perception that the courts and the legal profession exist mostly for the benefit of the lawyers and the legal industry. The belief that justice can be bought, and guilt or innocence is so often a measure of legal talent, rather than truth. Harvey Weinstein, whether ultimately found guilty or innocent, obviously should have the chance to put forward the best defense available to him. But the publicly broadcast descriptions of his alleged acts make letting him get off scot free distasteful to most people, especially the young. And its the lack of faith in the legal system that is driving this resentment on a deeper level, I believe. And while this "me-too" moment, is long overdue, the fact is there's something wrong with young people today. The echo chambers of the internet cuts in all directions. Student protest is fun, that's a given. Sometimes someone says something articulate. But that requires a genuine crisis.

  72. Harvard blew it. This should have been a teaching moment that provided Mr. Sullivan the opportunity to to demonstrate the ideals in the American criminal justice system. No matter what the crime is or how contemptible the defendant may be, the defendant is entitled to the best defense possible. Sadly this is not the case for poor defendants, but the country should strive for this ideal. Mr. Sullivan should have been allowed to engage in a dialog with the residents of Winthrop House to hopefully given them a great appreciation of at least the ideals of our criminal justice system.

  73. A defendant is not “entitled to the best representation possible.” If that were the case, no indigent defendant would be represented by public defenders with 200 other clients. Defendants are entitled to representation, and the rich can afford the best. But any one of “the best” has the right to decline that client. Stop using the language of false scarcity to imply that the Dean was the only lawyer remaining capable of defending Mr. Weinstein, who has more lawyers than most defendants could ever dream of.

  74. I’m struck with a similar consideration: what if on the way to the courthouse, Mr. Weinstein was in a car accident; he would be rushed to the hospital where he would be treated promptly, just as any other patient. Would you fault the Paramedics, the nurses, or the doctors for doing their jobs? Of course not - they are doing their job, one they signed up to do in order to help people in time of need. My views of Mr. Weinstein’s guilt aside, every person who is being tried for a crime deserves an attorney-in fact they are required by law to have the option. Even guilty people need legal defense.

  75. @Will P. This is a pitiful strawman argument with zero bearing on the issue at hand.

  76. Comparing being a rape or abuse survivor to being an Atheist is CRAZY TALK. This quote is insane: "Suppose atheist students claimed that they did not feel “safe” confiding in a faculty dean who was an outspoken Christian or if conservative students claimed that they did not feel “safe” confiding in a faculty dean who was a prominent leftist." Sorry Mr. Kennedy, you really don't get it. To some extent we CHOOSE our religion. None of us choose to be victims of RAPE and misconduct especially not to the extent of Mr. Weinstein. I am not arguing that it is a murky whether or not firing this professor was the right or wrong thing to do, but the arguments made in this article are victim shaming and blaming at best. The author does himself and his colleague a disservice.

  77. Chilling. The intellectual intolerance of the left is slowly but surely becoming as pernicious as the cultural intolerance of the right.

  78. “Intellectual”? It was a residential/administrative deanship. He is still a professor there.

  79. Sorry, Professor Kennedy but what you lawyers fail to understand is that when you defend a criminal and get him or her off you diminish your moral self and the entire legal profession. There is no 'liberty and justice for all' in this country where the wealthy commit crimes and receive little or no punishment. It all boils down to who has the money to corrupt the system. Apparently, Harvard and other ivy league school law professors aren't paid enough to just teach law they have to take on defending criminals to make a living.

  80. @E-Llo ".. what you lawyers fail to understand is that when you defend a criminal and get him or " Except as per US law, nobody is a criminal till proved to be so in a court of law.

  81. Our system is based on innocence until proven guilty, and the opportunity for attorneys to zealously represent their clients. The failure of the students at Harvard, supposedly bastion of "the best and the brightest," to grasp these basic concepts is pretty pathetic.

  82. Having worked at the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University for many years, I am not at all surprised at the cowardice of the administration at Harvard. The bureaucratic mindset of today's Academia is reactive rather than proactive. The path of least resistance is the safest politically; and the idea of bucking a volatile social trend is threatening to market share and therefore, the bottom line. I wish there was more to it than that.

  83. While I agree that Mr. Sullivan should be able to represent whomever he chooses and that by representing horrible people criminal defense attorneys protect all of our rights, the analogies Mr. Kennedy uses comparing women to atheists or conservatives is tone deaf to the position women face as victims of historical and continuing oppression that at the very least conservatives don't face? Why not use the examples instead of homophobes vs. LGBTQ people or the KKK vs. blacks or neo-Nazis vs. Jews? Being a woman is not the same as holding a belief.

  84. @Katie Watch out... the tone police are on patrol.

  85. @Katie Neo-Nazis vs Jews? Guess the ACLU in 1978 did not defend the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois with its large Holocaust survivor population. Or did they?

  86. @Katie Indeed.

  87. Atrocious behavior by Harvard. I have often represented unpopular or distasteful clients, and when I'm asked about it I try to use it as a teaching moment. I attempt to get people to understand that our whole system of justice depends upon every person having the right to a defense. Unfortunately most people think that just because we represent someone we endorse the behavior they're accused of. They also believe that there are some crimes which are so heinous that the accused does not deserve a defense. When I ask them to imagine how they would feel what if the accused person was a relative of theirs, occasionally I feel that I'm getting through to them, but it's a tough slog. Harvard should have used this as a teaching moment, to educate these disruptive and, yes, ignorant students. Maybe they should read To Kill a Mockingbird? It is wrong to give into this kind of pressure and it sends a terrible message.

  88. Yes, but you’re not charged with emotionally supporting students who may be victims of crimes themselves. His decision to join the defense destroyed his ethos in the house. It’s a self-inflicted injury.

  89. @A Discordant Voice No, it did not destroy his ethos in the house, what a lot of nonsense. If These people are so fragile they can't handle this they should get therapy. All of us women have been sexually harassed or assaulted in our careers. We need to move on and stop expecting everyone we come in contact with to act as a therapist.

  90. The students and the university fail to consider the fundamental ideas motivating our criminal justice system. All defendants are entitled to, indeed must have, competent and dedicated counsel. We do not live in a society where accusation equals guilt. Although the presumption of innocence is a legal standard, it is also part of our national consciousness. These circumstances make this most prestigious university look ridiculous and hypocritical.

  91. Purity test! My concern is that this kind of attitude is also what is going to sink any hopes of unseating Trump just as easily as it put him there in the first place.

  92. "...Now, of course, Harvard authorities are dredging up various supposed delinquencies on Mr. Sullivan’s part. An exposé in The Harvard Crimson refers to allegations that he and his wife were highhanded in their dealings with the staff at Winthrop House. No one is perfect; perhaps there is something to these claims..." I am struck by the bogus argument that Sullivan is being wronged by Harvard's decision to remove him from Winthrop House. After all, Sullivan is free to represent any client he wishes as a clinical professor at Harvard Law School. He is not entitled, however, to a free house, a staff, and an internally prestigious perch that involves caring for students, to whom he has shown nothing but disdain. Aside from the issues documented by the Crimson, I have heard from people close to the situation that he hired HLS students as nannies and gave them Winthrop House dorm rooms as compensation, which is totally unacceptable. Robinson, in particular, has been problematic. I don't know of anyone associated with Winthrop House who is sad to see them go. Sullivan is free to engage in his clinical practice at HLS, which largely involves taking on highly lucrative cases of violent men (like Aaron Hernandez). Few of these cases involve legal principle or precedent.

  93. I want to add my thoughts though am a little worried that I am exposing myself to the kind of vituperative mail that is recounted by a Chinese opinion piece in this issue of NYT. Students at high profile colleges at times feel that they must do something to assuage the guilt that they feel for getting into these exclusive environments based on advantages that accrue to them for winning the birth lottery. Frans de Waal describes recognizing patterns of behavior in student movements in the 1960s that were similar to the patterns that he was observing in chimpanzees he was studying for his graduate research. He says that silently observing the student groups showed him how the student movement had its own "alphas", power struggles, groupies and jealousies just like the chimpanzees. It appears that the same dynamics are at work in the "safe space", "trigger warning", "#metoo" movements. This is a shame as all these movements started with a basic social situation which needed to be called out but has now snowballed into public shaming.

  94. Couldn’t agree more. Our criminal trial system is based on even the most repugnant defendents having competent representation in court. I was really astonished that Harvard did this to faculty members in good standing. Along with Harvard Medical School honoring Elizabeth Holmes with a seat on their Board of Fellows, this is two black eyes for this institution.

  95. Sexual abuse is wrong, no matter who commits it. The criminal, civil and social penalties that can be imposed upon a sexual abuser are substantial. Persons accused of such conduct are entitled to the best defense possible, and they are entitled to a presumption of innocence. It is outrageous that a member of the Harvard Law School faculty is being subjected to social and employment ostracism because of his willingness to do what lawyers are supposed to do and what separates us from mob rule. It is not surprising that Harvard has its share of what used to be called "spoiled brats". It is shocking that members of the Harvard faculty or administration would aid and abet such student attitudes. We presently have a climate in our County, on both the left and right, even among people who should know better, that increasingly disrespects the true fundamentals of liberty. Ironically, in more than fifty years of law practice, I have found that those who participate in legal and social lynchings tend to have a very different attitude when they or someone close to them stands accused. It is time for the grownups at Harvard to make clear where the University stands on all of this.

  96. @HJB I always thought that lawyers have a moral responsibility to provide someone a fair legal representation regardless of whether they agree or approve of the actions of the defendant, they can choose to not take the case, but should understand that the person has the right to a defense.

  97. A Harvard student wrote a letter to the Times yesterday explaining the conflict of interest posed by Sullivan’s undertaking Weinstein’s defense while serving as a point of contact for student sexual harassment complaints. That student dispassionately states a credible case for Sullivan choosing one or the other path for his legal services. As a vigorous defender of Weinstein’s case, and as a human being, Sullivan will likely look at the facts comprising sexual assault or harassment allegations from a different perspective. He may assert that as a professional of highest degree he is capable of unbiased analysis of facts, so that he may resume his prior role of evaluating such cases at Harvard after his defense of Weinstein has ended. However, it is up to the students to decide if they are comfortable bringing such personal issues to a person who has taken adverse positions. In our justice system, prosecutors often become defense attorneys; but we do not have a system where a defense attorney also accepts cases for the government as prosecutor. Weinstein, like any reviled accused, is entitled a competent defense attorney; but students are entitled to place their trust in a person to whom they are about to expose their private lives. Weinstein can hire the lawyer he wants , but the students also have a right to the representative they trust.

  98. @Asher Fried I have found that sometimes extending trust can be uncomfortable.

  99. We reap the students we have sown! They, in their cocoon, react emotionally in the same manner that many adults do nowadays. Not much research/analysis of a complex problem and quick denouncement of the "opposition". All of this is a sign of the time, with "news" traveling fast and the possibility of instant and self-righteous response. One of the problem is that the response is limited to a tiny amount of characters (150?) in a box and readily available, not giving a chance for reflexion and rational thinking to even get into gear.

  100. I can imagine students being ok with their Dean defending someone like Hernandez who may have suffered CTE and that such aspects of his case need to be considered. I can also imagine students being aghast at their Dean working as diligently as possible to ensure that there are strong limits on the ability of the powerless to confront the powerful. Their is no element of power that Weinstein didn't possess and possibly abuse. For students and the University to consider it inappropriate for one of its faculty to vigorously defend the ability of the powerful to abuse their power should be proud and Sullivan should have known better - the author too.

  101. I understand - and appreciate - that equal, impartial, and vigorous defense for all offenders, regardless of crime, is one of the great underpinnings of a true democracy, and I have great admiration for someone who can hold the workings of the law above their own personal beliefs. (I must assume that's what's happening.) However, that does not mean said person is a proper candidate to be Dean of a residential hall. As the author stated, these Deans are stand-in parents, and need to have the confidence of their charges in order to properly do their job. If the Dean of a primarily Jewish dorm came out as a Holocaust denier, would we be having this same discussion? If Harvard were firing him from the school entirely, this would be a very different comment. It benefits the students to have varying views and personalities in their professors. It does not benefit them to have someone they feel they cannot trust as their in-house advisor and caregiver. And before everyone jumps on the the "what if they were Christian/Muslim/POC" straw-man, there is a great difference between valid apprehension and that caused by bigotry. It is valid to feel uncomfortable discussing a sex crime or another women's issue with someone who is representing a high-profile abuser, especially given the vulnerability felt by those victims. Trust is a very important issue here, and the students voices should be listened to.

  102. @SaraJane If a Dean came out as a Holocaust denier, it would tell us that he or she is morally repugnant and lacking in the ability to distinguish between historical fact and fiction. Professor Sullivan's representation of Harvey Weinstein doesn't indicate either of these things. Rather, what we have in this instance is the rather immature idea that equates an attorney's representation of an accused with the idea that the attorney somehow endorses the alleged behavior. If that is true, only morally repugnant attorneys can represent people accused of murder, rape and other morally repugnant crimes. Hard to be believe that students at Harvard (or any other university) don't have the intellectual ability to understand this distinction.

  103. Didn't "in loco parentis" go out of fashion in the 1960s? That seems to be the problem here. If you treat adults like children, don't be surprised when they behave like children.

  104. @B These are "legally adult" children.

  105. Harvard’s action tars all defense lawyers as condoning clients’ crimes. This will surely cause some defense lawyers to decline some clients, reducing quality of available defense — and our confidence in convictions and sentences. As a juror, I’ll have to view government’s cases with extra skepticism, knowing that defendants had limited choice of counsel.

  106. In this country, everyone is entitled to their "day in court" Unless we find you reprehensible. If so, so we get to decide who you can have as your legal representation. AND, if we find out you are representing someone we dislike, we can get you removed from your position and off the case. Awesome. Hope none of those students get into legal trouble...

  107. The client usually selects the lawyer, not the other way around. By Harvard's reasoning if a physician treats a rapist the physician should be punished. Harvard has lost its way.

  108. Sad day when humans without fully formed brains have been handed control of places with such prestige as Harvard. Dean Khurana has abdicated his leadership to the angry mob and is derelict in his duties. If anyone's position at the University should be reviewed, it should be his.

  109. You and everyone else should check the facts. Harvard used the current situation as an excuse to not renew Sullivan’s role at Winthrop. He and his wife have been know for years as not being present in the House and not fulfilling their roles. His role in the law school has not changed and that is correct. He probably should not have been renewed at Winthrop the last time his position was up for renewal

  110. @Susan Shallenberger even if that is the case, using the current situation as the reason was WRONG

  111. But that’s not what happened. The controversy stirred up by the students, it’s true, is indeed what led to the Harvard administration taking a closer look at Sullivan’s running of Winthrop House. And I don’t think that’s good at all. However, what they found when they looked at the way Sullivan ran Winthrop House is a lot of significant problems that suggest that while he may be great as a law professor, he just was NOT very good as a Faculty Dean. During the ten years during which he was Faculty Dean of Winthrop House, the turnover among his subordinates was much greater (in one case, ten times greater) than in the other houses. Problems had been reported for years. So there’s a lot that Randall Kennedy is leaving out of this op-ed. I know that as an op-ed, it’s allowed to represent just one point of view and not be at all balanced, but most readers of the op-ed (as far as I can judge based on these comments) seem to be assuming that what Kennedy, a colleague and probably friend of Sullivan, writes is the gospel truth, and that there’s nothing more to the story whatsoever. It would have been so easy for the Times and/or Kennedy to have included a link to the Harvard Crimson story that detailed all the many troubling aspects of Kennedy’s service as Faculty Dean so as to give readers a better chance to be able to make up their minds for themselves; I think they did a real disservice to readers in not doing this...

  112. Harvard buckled. Like Yale, like Evergreen State and others. Students scream that they are uncomfortable and the whole internal clockwork of free speech, rights of accused to representation--you name it--is blown apart. Schools--even, maybe especially elite schools-- can no longer assume their students have the emotional or intellectual maturity and wherewithall to understand some essential underlying principles. When they can't understand them, the schools don't double down, see this as a teaching opportunity. They cave. "I need some muscle over here" said the journalism professor at the University of Missouri busy removing a suudent journalist from a rally. This marks a decline in education but also civilization.

  113. It is a long-standing tradition of the bar and a rule of constitutional law that everyone, no matter how despised, is entitled to a competent defense when accused of criminal conduct. The idea that the identity of a client charged with criminal misconduct somehow reflects on their lawyers, so as render them some sort of professional pariah is professionally abhorrent. If the organized bar had any moral gumption, they would be suing the Harvard "protesters" and Harvard University itself to reaffirm clients' right to counsel of their choice, who are willing and able to accept the representation. Better yet, at least some of the uppity "downtown" white shoe law firms whose senior partners are forever lecturing the legal Great Unwashed on the moral obligations of a lawyer, should announce that if this goes on, in the future their firms will cease to interviewing the graduates of law schools engaging in such practices.

  114. I, too, would love to see the Harvard's answer to the question posed at the end of this piece: "Why is serving as defense counsel for Harvey Weinstein inconsistent with serving as a faculty dean?"

  115. The Dean of Harvard College who ordered the firing here is the same Dean who ramrodded through the anti-due-process sex police rules at Harvard over the objections of the Law School faculty. The President of Harvard, himself a lawyer, needs to decide whether Harvard can afford to have a Dean of the College who is opposed to the rule of law.

  116. @Frank Your reply and others suggest that the NYT should investigate this story. Or the Boston Globe should. The NYT story about Sullivan's dismissal which appeared earlier was not edifying. This may be a story with many layers or it may be a story of "safe spaces" with students being unwilling to see the value of challenging accusations, no matter how heinous. We did march through a process at the Nuremberg trials, although some called that "victors' justice." Sam Adams did (successfully) defend the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre case--an unpopular stand for seeking truth where anger was the easier response. Can you imagine this happening at Oxford? Would any of the students pushing for his dismissal have understood the ACLU's defending NAZI marchers in that Illinois suburb years ago?

  117. Shame on Harvard. As a retired lawyer I have assisted clients of all ways of life. From "capitalists" to union leaders; From arsonists to victims of malpractice. It is a lawyer duty to assisrt any one, any body who asks for his legal assistance. Assisting a human being in a judicial procces does not imply or mean in the least that he supports or approve his actions; Would it be OK for a doctor to refuse his medical assistance to any one in need. I know that for some people it would be so. A women in need of an abortion, even a medical one may have to "shop around" because doctors are afraid of their neighbors opinion. Young students may express extreme opinions .That may be a youth privilege. But HARVARD Faculty? Shame on them

  118. I realize this is an op-ed piece, not investigative journalism; but I don't think that Prof Kennedy has made the case that the dismissal was due mainly to Prof Sullivan's representation of Harvey Weinstein. As an alum (though not of Winthrop), I have some knowledge of how student complaints are handled by the university and its divisions (and not just this university). Usually the administration sees them as an inconvenience which will disappear in a few years. If the College was willing to listen this time, there's a good chance that something significant was behind the accusations. And really: Prof Sullivan's job at Winthrop was to make sure the House functioned well (though I never saw our House Master as a substitute parent). If he wasn't able to manage that piece - and no one commenting has a full list of the reasons why he was removed from Winthrop - then there's a chance his removal may have been warranted. I'm no longer directly plugged into the college anymore. But I remember how an anti-apartheid protest at one of the Houses led to several students being punished. With age, I understand how the students' actions in that case may have warranted a response from the university; but I see nothing in what the students did in this case that is beyond the bounds of free speech. So we'd need more information to really conclude that Prof Sullivan was a victim of a witch hunt over Harvey Weinstein.

  119. @moi Agreed. But Khurana apparently (according to this column) said nothing to disabuse anyone of the idea that the Weinstein matter was one of the "considerations." It should not have been.

  120. @moi Your neck is going to ache from looking in the other direction. What did Sullivan's accusers say on their protest signs? What did they say in protest meetings? What did they say in response to reporters' questions concerning his ouster? Yes, "moi", there is sufficient evidence that the driving force for this removal was Sullivan's legal representation of a man accused of odious crimes. Why would anyone imply otherwise?

  121. @moi No, we don’t need “more information.”

  122. Apparently, those running our institutions and systems no longer care about the principles, values, and ideals upon which they were built and revered. Quite possibly, they just don't know?

  123. Only there was a lot more to the decision that Prof. Kennedy wants to admit. This is a piece of blinkered advocacy, meant to trigger peoples' outrage without telling the whole story.

  124. I support #MeToo but interpret some of their tactics as being mob driven, as in the lynch mob-like tactics against anyone who ruffles their feathers. This law professor understands that our legal system DEPENDS on both sides of every story being heard fairly. O.J. Simpson was hated by many, but his lawyer's position as a bona fide legal representative was not targeted by families of murder victims. It's absurd to hold a lawyer accountable for the sins of the client. If that is going to happen widely, NO ONE will be able to get a defender, even the innocent. This sets a frightening precedent.

  125. Doesn't everyone deserve to be defended in court by council? Harvard Law School needs to look at their history of legal scholars and graduates, then think deeply understanding that even the most unpopular defendants deserve to have legal representation, and that is something they should defend regardless if they find the person unpleasant or even reprehensible.

  126. This is a dreadful capitulation to youthful passion and ignorance.

  127. This is terrible and a sign of our society in decay.

  128. So the disease has spread from Yale to Harvard. What a pathetic misunderstanding of how society works, that our feelings, if strong enough and shared by enough of our friends, should dictate policy and override good sense. This is exactly how lynchings happen and I suppose how they are "justified." The students involved should be ashamed of their ignorance; it wouldn't have happened in my days at Harvard. We were trying to become adults, not to get the adults to behave like children. Question: how do students with so little sense of how American justice works get into a school like Harvard? Second question: how do such craven administrators get jobs at a school like Harvard?

  129. Wow! What a conundrum. It must be mighty difficult to understand, for those of us non-lawyers, to see the need, the probity and justice, in representing a known criminal...and try to exonerate him or at least diminish the sentence. What a quandary, especially for those folks in the highest echelons of prudence (doing what's right, however difficult), namely, educators, hence, influencing the youth under their spell. And Weinstein, a sexual abuser, though not as severe as pederasts, is certainly a very unsavory fellow, abusing his power for years on end. To defend such a case must take guts and bravado. But setting a good example for justice it is not.

  130. @manfred marcus It should not be difficult at all to understand. In this country the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty (he is not a "know criminal") and have a constitutional right to be defense by a lawyer.

  131. @AJ Really innocent, when there is overwhelming evidence by victimized women having been abused sexually? You must be kidding, right?

  132. One must assume that the method of evaluation used to determine Professor Sullivan's fitness to be a faculty dean both derives from and informs the methodology used to determine who is worthy of being admitted as students to Harvard. In fact, the response of the students to Professor Sullivan's decision to uphold a basic tenet of the legal profession, and Harvard's alignment with their protests, confirms this. Professor Sullivan deserves better, but the Harvard College administration and students deserve each other.

  133. The article ignores an important fact (see https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/5/10/winthrop-climate/). There have purportedly been claims about a bad environment for several years, predating the Weinstein episode. Dr. Sullivan may be a friend of yours, and potentially he has an unfair compounding of issue give the position on this case, but to claim that the Weinstein cases is the only factor is disingenuous. Also, the point of a House Dean is to help make the students feel safe in their living environment. Regardless of the reason, if the dean isn't doing that, isn't it better for the students to find someone who will. He is not losing is faculty position; his house dean position was just not renewed.

  134. @Mike if it's been going on for years, why did the college wait until Sullivan took on Weinstein as a client do a "climate review"? How convenient that they already had "concerns", but had never acted upon them.

  135. This type of scenario can start becoming very costly for universities when they face inevitable lawsuits (or out of court settlements) from individuals such as Sullivan. Have they considered the cost of a multi-million dollar payout each and every time something like this happens? Students really need to be put in their place and reminded that there are plenty of individuals ready to take their slot if the need arises.

  136. These guys want to be facilitators of a corrupt regime and also beloved. It's one or the other.

  137. You're wrong, Professor Kennedy. Mr Sullivan is not just a defense attorney, but a professor and a faculty dean. He sets an example to the university. And that example should not be that one goes out and makes big bucks defending a sexual predator, but that what Weinstein did was abhorrent. What Professor Sullivan does has implications for the entire university. He should be about more than just going after the big bucks.

  138. Baby boomers have trashed this country and now see fit to lecture others on their high-minded principles. While I have zero sympathy for students who want safe spaces at school this op-ed speaks more to the self-absorbed boomer generation than anything else. Being the dean is a job. Mr. Sullivan demonstrated exceptionally poor judgement in deciding to involve himself in the defense of Mr. Weinstein. To act as though this decision was not poor judgement but rather a heroic act is on its face absurd. Caught with a hand in the cookie jar, the thief now wishes to lecture others on the nature of personal property. If only I had friends who would pen a NYT op-ed to defend me. I would love to print the op-ed and show it to all my friends at all my conferences. They say yes you really showed them with that op-ed. Almost exactly the same as Thurgood Marshall they said.

  139. Snowflakes of the world unite. Just as well for Atticus Finch that he wasn't a Harvard dean.

  140. I appreciate Professor Kennedy's statement. I have all kinds of nieces and nephews with degrees from Ivy-League or equivalent universities like Northwestern and Chicago. What the administrators of these universities need to comprehend is that at least for our male children, the people in our family are beginning to question the wisdom of sending them to such universities, where their sons may find themselves in sex-traps and a Stalinist atmosphere. Harvard did not create the calculus or Martin Luther's theology. Martin Luther and Leibniz (and Newton) did. Those things are available at universities of the interior, along with a rational social community that is not based on what the old Book of Common Prayer used to call "envy, malice and hate." John Harvard would vomit to see what has become of the "learning"--and, dare I say it?--the faith of his fathers. At Harvard faith has been replaced by fate and hatred. Evil. Evil. Evil.

  141. And the Left continues to eat itself...it would be funny if it weren't so dangerous. The idea that a person can be "trauma-induced" by a another merely because of something that person believes/does/says elsewhere is absurd. Hence the term "snowflake." Americans need to toughen up - especially the younger ones. Do you think the Chinese and Russians are wasting time on such nonsense? Of course they aren't. And they will soon dominate the world if we don't get our priorities straight!

  142. Such behaviour fits into the present climate of bluster and insults from all directions, especially from high places (even the White House). But a highly respected institution such as Harvard, which most of us would see as one of the bastions of dignity and impartiality, simply cannot behave like an ignorant and half-educated master of bluster. One of the cherished beliefs I thought were common to Europe and the US is that even the most evil of apparent criminals has the right to a fair trial and to a corresponding legal representation: one cannot allow such a jewel to be sacrificed on the altar of smug self-righteousness. Surely this must be obvious to Dean Khurana, if not to adolescent students, who might be forgiven for their immaturity.

  143. This problem is not a Harvard problem it is an American problem. We no longer seem to believe in our own systems and methods, the ones we celebrated so assiduously for 200 years. The Bill of Rights is currently under assault. Bipartisan compromise to make laws went out with the Obama administration's "Bull in a China Shop" approach. The Trump administration is hostile to a free press. Free speech is suppressed on college campuses all over the country. The electoral college is on the way out, not by Constitutional amendment but by states attempting to subvert it. The electoral system itself was assaulted by Russians, Republicans and Democrats in the last election. This story is just an example of doing away with yet another sacred American principle.

  144. Was William Singer the mastermind of the college admissions scandal way more successful that we know in stacking Harvard with wealthy but challenged students that would otherwise not be admitted? How else can the lack of critical thinking and reasoning by these students be explained? Weinstein is universally reviled, but what about "but for the grace of God there go I"? And that "but for the grace of God .. " question applies not only to Weinstein but also Dean Sullivan and current Harvard students who in a few decades finds themselves in deep doo doo looking for a lawyer - maybe after buying their kids into college or worse.

  145. I'm surprised that the article's author, and his fellow law school faculty, do not see the problem with Mr. Sullivan representing Mr. Weinstein and Rose McGowan (one of Mr. Weinstein's accusers). It called "conflict of interest". Ms. McGowan could be called as a prosecution witness in Mr. Weinstein's trial (potentially many of his trials!), while Mr. Sullivan is sitting at the defense's table!

  146. Three quick thoughts and a question. If my dorm were supervised by a Christian faculty member who spoke about the rapture I’d have a serious problem living there. These days being a prominent lawyer or law professor has been revealed to be not a credential bearing on virtue. Sullivan chose the client he wants to serve in this environment. He can not be naive. How does Randall Kennedy assess his former colleague Dershowitz?

  147. Have we all not been taught that in our respective judicial systems i.e. Canada and the USA that the accused has to be considered innocent before being found guilty ? The actions of a seemingly very small percentage of Harvard students and the subsequent reaction by the university's administration in this situation quite frankly smacks of Fascism and represents one very big step toward mob rule.

  148. Harvard was more fearful of being politically incorrect than in upholding a fundamental tenet of American law; Guilt must be proven and all defendants are presumed to be innocent until guilt is proven in a court of law. The student demands stands the presumption of innocence on its head. Yes, clearly as published in the media Mr. Weinstein, is portrayed as vile and repugnant. The media has already found Mr. Weinstein guilty as charged. Now all that is left to be done is to lock him away forever, order him to have treatment by chemicals for life long castration (or surgically if we can find knives dirty enough) and finally register him as sexual offender and ban him from associating with women, young girls, children and actresses. Finally he should be publicly branded and caned. And of course he is to be denied counsel. Harvard ought to be ashamed and embarrassed. Maybe the student protestors of Mr. Weinstein should be summarily dismissed from the Harvard Law School and also be denied counsel or the right of appeal.

  149. The true issue at hand is about resident advising and campus life; the comments regarding Weinstein’s presumed innocence and the former Dean’s right to represent him are completely irrelevant to the issue.

  150. I wonder of Kennedy appreciates the consequences of opinion pieces like this. It's understandable that he wants to support his friend, but he is furthering some misleading narratives that are going to hurt higher ed and college students everywhere. Folks who don't know what a faculty dean is supposed to do, or don't realize the role of a clinical law professor, or are just eager to bash elites, are going to take every opportunity to accuse these students of indulging in ignorant tantrums. That's not what happened. True, it looks from the outside that Harvard "fired" Sullivan because of the Weinstein case. And Harvard can't say much about the particulars because of HR and confidentiality concerns. But readers of this column should look more closely at the nuances of the story and see who is helped by narratives like Kennedy's.

  151. @Cousy "But readers of this column should look more closely at the nuances of the story and see who is helped by narratives like Kennedy's." Or, you could just tell us.

  152. It sounds kind of embarrassing that Harvard students are upset that a defensive lawyer is doing his job. There are people much worse than Harvey Weinstein. Are the students suggesting that criminals don’t deserve representation in court?

  153. Harvard's cowardice is absolutely appalling. But it is becoming all too common in our universities. Yale Law School recently decided to discriminate against its conservative students who wanted to do legal work at reputable conservative non-profit law groups, by refusing to allow those students to participate in Yale's student-loan-forgiveness-program; students who worked at "approved" liberal non-profits were, of course, ushered into the program. I'm old enough to remember -- and shudder at -- the actions of Mao's Red Guards, who attacked, and sent off to re-education camps, anyone who didn't follow the party line. Apparently, the Harvard administrators aren't that old. Or maybe they do remember, but fear that, if they don't kowtow, they too will be sacrificed for a toxic political correctness.

  154. @Uysses Hear here and everywhere!!

  155. It is interesting how the corporate universities of America (via their administrations) like to generate technical vocabulary (terminology) that has no meaning in the ‘normal’ environment. Faculty dean (of Winthrop House in this case) has nothing to do with ‘faculty’ and nothing to do with ‘dean’. From the text, one can gather that it is simply a position of a guardian of a student dormitory. In that perspective, the ‘high drama’ depicted in the above piece does not seem so dramatic. Students (for whatever reason) do not want to have Dr. Sullivan as their guardian. And so, logically, the dean (true dean in this case) decided that there is no point to impose on those student a guardian that they do not want. Professor Kennedy seems to be lost in his own terminology claiming that “On Saturday, Dean Khurana announced that Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Robinson would no longer be deans of the college, citing their “ineffective” efforts to improve “the climate” at Winthrop.” What college? Aren’t we talking about the dormitory?

  156. @math45oxford I assume that the faculty dean title is the "new improved version" of what used to be called the "house master".

  157. @math45oxford - You say that "Students (for whatever reason) do not want to have Dr. Sullivan as their guardian." But, math45oxford, the reason does matter.

  158. @math45oxford Students don’t choose the employees of a university.

  159. I would agree with Professor Kennedy that attorneys should not be professionally punished for defending unpopular clients. Professor Sullivan is not going to lose his position at Harvard Law School; if he did, it would constitute a grave attack on his freedom. However, Professor Kennedy dismisses the long series of other complaints about Professor Sullivan's leadership of Winthrop House: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/5/10/winthrop-climate/ Had those complaints not surfaced until Professor Sullivan chose to defend Weinstein, Professor Kennedy would have a better argument, but they seem to have been documented long before this latest, perhaps unrelated, issue.

  160. Here's a lesson for our young friends at Harvard's Winthrop House. A criminal defense lawyer's job is to make the State prove beyond a reasonable doubt each element of each charge on which it seeks a criminal conviction. The first thing he/she tells his client is not to tell him/her whether or not he "did it" because that could put the attorney in the position of suborning perjury. Mr. Sullivan can have contempt for the offenses for which Harvey Weinstein is accused BUT NOT YET CONVICTED, but he's ethically permitted to provide him a defense at law. Mr. Sullivan should be commended for handling a matter so difficult of proof and contentious in the court of public opinion. Attorneys like him stand for the rule of law against the self-righteous pssion of the lynch mob. I would have expected Harvard students to appreciate this.

  161. The issue to me is whether Prof. Sullivan is profiting from his connection to Mr. Weinstein or acting pro bono. As a lawyer, I absolutely believe that every criminal defendant, even (and indeed, especially) the most reviled, is entitled to legal representation. But lawyers, unless assigned by the court, also have a choice as to whom to represent and on what terms. If Prof. Sullivan were strictly in the business of conducting criminal defenses, there would be no issue. If, as a well-paid Harvard Law professor, he worked pro bono or, for a client like Mr. Weinstein, donated his fee to, say, a women's shelter or legal clinic, I would applaud him. But if he is pocketing a large fee from a rich and powerful criminal defendant (and I have seen no reporting as to the terms of his engagement by Mr. Weinstein, so I don't know), that certainly affects his position as a mentor and confidante to college students. Mr. Weinstein sits at the all-too-common nexus of wealth, power and abuse. Prof. Sullivan's retention, if he is profiting by it, would drag him into that nexus as an enabler. As such, I could see why a university would not want him in a position of authority and power over college students.

  162. I find this very troubling. We're in deeper trouble than I realized when the best, or at least the most accomplished, among us are unwilling to uphold the basic principles of our society. The Harvard administration has, with this move, taught their students that witch hunts and the power of the mob are more important than the rule of law, that passion is more important than reason, that opinion is more important than fact. Not good. These are exactly the issues many of us have with our current POTUS and some of the hacks who serve him.

  163. Logic does not rule emotion. In principle, a student should not be fazed by Sullivan's defense of a man who symbolizes sexual assault. In practice, it causes a student to mistrust him. For people who are so dismissive of the students' point of view, I suggest they ask themselves who they trust and why.

  164. @pag It shows the students’ genuine misunderstanding of the profession and responsibilities of those engaged in law that will later manifest itself as judicial activism instead of applying the law.

  165. Everyone has the right to counsel. Nothing is more important in the system of justice. We live in a society with enormous inequality. The rich and powerful can afford to buy a Maybach as their lawyer. The poor get a public defender of variable quality. A Harvard Law Professor who is also a residential Dean there is very well paid. HIs legal skills are of the highest quality. One can understand and applaud those skills being employed to defend the powerless and persecuted and reviled, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti (remember where Harvard stood on that case). Harvey Weinstein is a rich and powerful man. He can buy that Maybach. He has the right to counsel. No doubt. A Harvard Law professor who uses his skills to defend a Sacco deserves all the support and protection from the mob. A Harvard Law professor who sells his skills to a Harvey Weinstein is just greedy and part not of the justice system, but a henchman of the oligarchs.

  166. Harvard's best and brightest? Nope. It was the radicalized students who created this oppressive atmosphere at Winthrop House and should have been reprimanded or expelled. I wonder if any rational thinker would feel "safe" living there.

  167. Harvard's response to the student protest is equally unsurprising and disappointing. Given my five decades trying both criminal and civil cases, I can tell you with some authority that no one asks in civil cases, "How can you represent a company accused of such a terrible fraud?" but lawyer and laymen alike ask, incessantly, about defendants in criminal cases, "How can you represent someone who is guilty?" The answer is pretty simple: Even hated defendants like Mr. Weinstein are entitled to the presumption of innocence--no matter how morally and intellectually challenging it is to accord them that presumption--and a lawyer whose sole duty is to put the state to the test of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. All of which leads to a simple question: What are they teaching students at Harvard Law (and throughout the university)? Is this cornerstone principle of American justice obsolete? That is a real question, the latter one, not a conclusion, but one raised by Harvard's unjustified treatment of Professor Sullivan.

  168. Education does not make one less ignorant. Applying education to life in a civil society does. These students need less of "ME,ME, ME" and more of "US, US, US". "Applied Education 201."

  169. Surely, Harvard students can understand the importance of right to counsel and the presumption of innocence, and that it must be extended even to those who are unpopular or are clearly guilty of a crime? If not, I have to wonder why they were admitted to Harvard in the first place, as they seem unable to understand one of the most basic principles of our system of law. But worse even than the ignorance of some students is the cowardice of Harvard's administrators, who sent a clear message to the students that principle doesn't matter. How is that any different than the actions of those who protect predators like Weinstein, or the refusal of the Republican Congress to oppose President Trump? The message all around seems to be that the moment it becomes inconvenient, principle goes out the door.

  170. Let's acknowledge what defending Harvey Weinstein will entail: casting doubt on the credibility of however many of the scores of possible accusers who've been chosen by the prosecution. And let's also acknowledge that to be a female college student is to be accorded credibility that is at best provisional. To the best of my knowledge, no one at Harvard questioned: Mr. Sullivan's right to represent the clients of his choosing; Harvey Weinstein's right to a defense; or Weinstein's legal right to a presumption of innocence in the context of a courtroom. The question was whether Mr. Sullivan's two sets of responsibilities were compatible. To those who regret Mr. Sullivan's departure as Winthrop House dean, may I suggest that you look into whether Larry Nassar's attorney is available?

  171. When I was in high school - more than forty years ago - I read a book called To Kill a Mockingbird. Like many of my future colleagues, I was inspired to enter the legal profession by the book's portrayal of a courageous lawyer who was willing to represent a man reviled by an entire community. While Harvey Weinstein is no Tom Robinson, he has the same right to an attorney when accused of a crime. The Harvard students would be outraged by the analogy, but they are behaving like Bob Ewell in intimidating and punishing a lawyer for representing an unpopular defendant. If they succeed, a pillar of the American justice system is threatened. It appears that Harvard no longer is an institution that supports Atticus Finch.

  172. As a person who has been exposed and subjected to sexual assault and sexual harassment from various components of society, i.e. family, work place and being a visitor in a public arena. I have been the one that was ostracized by immediate and extended family, by work place supervisors when I spoke up to defend myself. Having no one to defend me while attempting to protect myself, I understand that a person not matter how vile the charges brought against them are, have the right to be defended.

  173. As Dean of Students, Professor Sullivan's foremost obligation is to his students. Harvard students have every right to feel threatened by a dean who is representing a well-known sexual predator; his decision to take on Weinstein sends a clear message to students on where their he stands on questions of sexual assault and violence. A Dean of Students is charged with creating a positive school climate and is expected to demonstrate commitment to strengthening the student community. These obligations have priority over his law practice. These obligations are his contract with the university.

  174. @ina Sullivan sent a clear message about the rights of the accused under our system of law. Getting rid of him tells students that you cannot be that plus a caring, concerned person. It tells them that there is no overlap, that a person has no qualities beyond--or greater than--those perceived by an 18 year old student. Is that the message you want sent? If so, congratulations.

  175. @ina Oh please. The students have every right to feel threatened by what, exactly? We cannot just change the meaning of words to suit our feelings. The campus of an elite American university is about the safest place you can be. There is no threat, no danger, absolutely nothing has changed that justifies removing the Dean.

  176. @Talbot we disagree on what we consider a "caring, concerned person."

  177. An absolute embarrassment for Harvard. Any law student who cannot differentiate between representing someone in court and condoning that person's behavior does not belong there or at any other reputable law school. I myself am a young lawyer who graduated from an elite law school. I cannot imagine this going on at my campus (and now I shudder to imagine what has changed in the four years since I graduated). I am so profoundly disappointed that the supposedly best, brightest, and most enlightened students of one of our most championed professions would be so reactionary and thick-headed. That the school caved in is even more alarming.

  178. This is very troubling, indeed. You state the obvious. How is it not apparent to the student body at the law school and, more disturbingly, to the administration?

  179. @Kevinthese aren’t law students were talking about .these are undergraduates

  180. I can understand the concerns of students regarding the issue of sexual assault and rape... one of the reasons this might be a trigger for them whereas the defense of Aaron Hernandez was not is the prevalence of sexual assault/ harrassment on college campuses that has not been adequately addressed by the administration at large . As an admin over a dormitory setting ( which is more intimate ) and vulnerable students who might need to report a sexual assault it could have a triggering effect on them and lead to suppression even more of women coming forward. Also look at where these young people are developmentally. They are still developing young adults/ teenagers. They are self aware enough to know that society at large treats accusers as if they are at fault when they have the courage to report.

  181. However ironically said, Harvard is not necessarily the best and brightest of anything or anyone. Idolation of the ivy league has done great harm- look at our Supreme Court. Harvard is a place. I wish it would reject its military and corporate funding with as much alacrity as it fired a greedy professor.

  182. If Harvard isn't teaching that everyone has a right to a defense from criminal charges by government, and that that proposition serves every one of us, especially the most vulnerable, I don't know what it is teaching that is valuable. Defense attorneys always defend the law, first and foremost, and without them, none of us would have rights. On the other hand, they can do no more than our law allows them to do. Harvard can question whether a faculty member's resources are sufficient to divide time between their duties to the university, and this outside work. But when an institution as powerful and important to leadership as Harvard starts questioning whether a faculty member's defense of justice itself is consistent with its students voiced preferences, we are all in big trouble, especially the students who feel most vulnerable before power. I suspect Mr. Weinstein is guilty, but if he is convicted without due process, he is not convicted, and we all lose.

  183. Everyone. Every single human being is innocent until proven guilty. Even if I was the guiltiest person on the face of the earth, if I could afford it, I would want the best and brightest representation. The man is a lawyer and a law professor with excellent credentials . Of all educational institutions, Harvard should know that everyone is entitled to the closest thing to a fair trial as is possible. I think this is a serious mistake on the part of Harvard and the by the students. When they are lawyers, are they going to turn down famous clients before they are proven guilty? , or turn down those accused of heinous crimes? It would be a chance for them all to learn so many things that are unique to a variety of cases. Their resume, in addition to who they represented , and how they prepared and fought for their client, will be indications of their intelligence and their open mindedness against enormous pressure in very unpopular cases. That can only benefit them in the future.

  184. @Wamsutta - this comment should be a Times pick!

  185. The common refrain among those defending Harvard in these comments reads something like this: “We agree that lawyers have a duty to represent unpopular defendants, we just don’t think the lawyer who fulfills that duty remains qualified to be a dean.” The problem with this position is that it will end up in a place where unpopular defendants cannot find lawyers to represent them. If an attorney has no place as a faculty dean because of the cases she accepts, then maybe that same attorney will eventually find that she has no place in a law firm either. Her church might kick her out because they don’t like her clients. Her kids PTA may say that she is unqualified to participate with the school because she represents sex offenders. If we let society move to a place where it is socially acceptable to rebuke lawyers for the accused actions of their clients, no lawyers will represent accused persons, because the professional and personal consequences will be too sever. If a Harvard dean can’t defend Weinstein without repercussions, who will be able to? A lawyer who represents Weinstein in court is no more unqualified to help a college student who is a victim of sexual violence than a doctor who gave Weinstein medical treatment would be. I am a public defender. I have many clients, some of whom I like quite a lot, and others whom I revile. I defend them all equally, because as defense lawyers, zealous advocacy is our duty. Democracy itself depends on our performance of that duty.

  186. @Rudy Breteler As a public defender, you know that everyone is entitled to counsel in a criminal case. I, too, have represented criminal defendants, and I steadfastly believe in everyone's right to competent counsel. That counsel does not have to be a dean at Harvard, however, and Weinstein, however reviled, will always be entitled to appointed counsel like everyone else.

  187. @Rain Disagree. A faculty dean is staff, not your landlord. As such, he or she has clear-cut job-related responsibilities and duties. If those are not fulfilled, the dean should be dismissed; if they are, the dean stays. I lived in a dormitory -- just downriver from Harvard, in fact -- with a faculty dean who was mistrusted by the student residents. He was believed to be hostile to many of those residents' beliefs about the ideal rules of society. (This involved a dogmatic insistence on blind tolerance, including of some illegal activities.) He was consequently not widely trusted as a confidante for some categories of personal problems or concerns. Everyone understood, though, that he was a university appointee and part of the package. Students had no right to oust him simply because he wasn't liked. The same should have been true here. Sadder still is that the students in Winthrop apparently gave Mr. Sullivan no presumption of innocence to serve them effectively but convicted him because of external circumstances.

  188. @Rain If your comfort was the only thing at issue, you'd be right. But at issue is how we all view defense lawyers. If we view them as just extensions of their clients, as bad people who personally excuse the inexcusable, this will inevitably cause some lawyers to decline some cases. Which will reduce the quality of available defense, in turn reducing our confidence in convictions. And how can we impose harsh punishments, if we can't be confident in convictions? Defense lawyers defend one thing: the idea that criminal punishments must be imposed only when justified by evidence and law. Are you saying you would only seek support from someone who is willing to throw the law to the wind when it comes to sexual violence or trauma?

  189. I generally agree with Kennedy on the substance of the argument. But here's another issue. Why do celebrity faculty members have the apparently unfettered right to enrich themselves with outside work when they are generously compensated for their faculty and administrative work at the University? Unless, of course, Sullivan's work is pro bono, which is an absurdity on its face. Do other employees of Harvard have the right to engage in outside work for compensation during the workday? Do non-tenure track, Assistant Professors in the humanities have the right or opportunity to take on another job during the academic work? At a time when tenure at many universities is under attack, faculty pay is stagnant at best, and adjuncts are hired on the cheap to do more and more of the teaching, it's irritating to see the immense privilege, flexibility and financial opportunities available to the"big shots."

  190. Weinstein, like any defendant, is entitled to the best defense his money can buy. Sullivan is free to represent him. Students living at Winthrop House rightly may inform Harvard's decisions on who are or are not in-house "counselors, cheerleaders, impresarios and guardians." And not to quibble, but I was unaware that the Weinstein case involved "civil liberties and civil rights." I thought he was accused of taking criminal sexual liberties and infringing on scores of women's human rights.

  191. As an HLS alumna I find it appalling that the administration has caved to this pressure. It is unbelievable that these completely cosseted Harvard students feel threatened by the Dean’s representation of Mr. Weinstein. This kind of pandering to students does not create the leaders and thinkers that Harvard is about. It instead supports the incredible idea that the very most privileged young people in our society attending Harvard must be protected and are victims. This ignores the value of academic freedom of thought and the fundamental right to counsel for all defendants and instead represents a sad direction for the future “leaders”. I say this as 60 year old woman liberal lawyer who has struggled with discrimination my entire career. I don’t think this does anyone a service.

  192. The students involved have won a hollow victory and as they mature in the world it is hoped that some may well think back at their earlier glee with a certain shame.

  193. The most important and treasured victim in this case is not Ronald Sullivan, Harvard or the Red Guard snowflakes who engineered Sullivan’s dismissal. The victim we should all be mourning is the right to counsel and the right to due process. It is quite ironic that In the dark Age of Trump many threats to the rule of law come from the regressive Left.

  194. The Constitution requires a 'zealous defense' for those accused of wrongdoing. A trial is allegedly a search for the truth but that cannot happen without a zealous effort by both parties to the issue. Harvard is taking a political position on the issue and making a most egregious error by doing so in ignoring Sullivan's absolute right and duty to provide a stellar defense for Harvey Weinstein. By dismissing Sullivan , Harvard dismisses the bedrock Constitutional issues that exist in order to guarantee our freedoms. What is Harvard afraid of that it would condone a total lack of support for what is right ?

  195. I've met Ronald Sullivan on several occasions, including when working on cases of wrongful convictions. He's a brilliant legal mind who has helped countless people, including in securing the rights of thousands after Katrina. Despite Sullivan's primary work being for the underserved and minority communities, "a cadre of students" at Harvard did more than "demanded the lawyer’s ouster", they utterly demonized Sullivan for unforgivably representing a client students claimed was "trauma-inducing". It is laughable. Those of us who do civil rights and criminal defense work constantly represent those actually traumatized and brutalized. These students simply pretend to face trauma. People note these students are spoiled brats. However, it conceals a darker trend long in the making, fostered by universities and university leadership, that subjective claims by students of discomfort take precedence over all basic rights, including due process of law and free speech, and students have the greater right (when no right exists) to effectively destroy any who disagree. A right is no right if these students, pretending to care for justice, can decide it doesn't exist. Little wonder that after leaving a protective bubble of college they seek to transform society into their authoritarian vision of a safe space for themselves, not our traumatized and brutalized clients. These narcissists believe they can destroy any rights they disagree with. Schools like Harvard are proving them right.

  196. I would hope that students at Harvard understood the difference between being convicted in the court of public opinion, as Weinstein already has, and being tried in a court of law.

  197. The really troubling issue here is the environment that exists in most academic institutions in our nation, and one should not be surprised that Harvard takes the lead with this sort of idiocy. The desire to create a safe environment for students (ie making sure one is not raped or attacked or burglarized on campus) is certainly understandable and a sine qua non. But like all things in this great country of ours, we take it to the extreme. Our students are being coddled and the educational environment is responsible for their arrested developments. ( I was appalled when my alma mater, Columbia University took Ovid off the curriculum because it would offend students with some of its narrative). Students have now become the rulers and dictators of our educational institutions by virtue of these issues. However, Mr. Sullivan seems to suffer from poor judgement here. There are other lawyers who can defend Mr. Weinstein for sure, but should the dean and law professor of one of our most esteemed institutions get involved in the defense of this vile man? I don't think so. It is not the same as defending Hernandez. And any dean or professor of law should take into account how his/her vanity actions (taking on a Weinstein as a client) may affect those that he has been asked to protect and nurture. This is a bad judgement call on Sullivan's part and sadly it has led to these extreme developments,

  198. Lawyers are in it to win it. Lawyers are there to get their clients off. And they do it zealously. If only Mr. Sullivan was just going to write some dry appellate brief « in service of constitutional principles » ; if only he announced that he would forbid the rest of the legal team from mining the sexual history of the accusers. No, he joined the dream team to do all that is necessary to win, to tear the accusers apart, to give the prosecution a whoopin. That is why serving as defense counsel to an accused rapist is incompatible with serving as in loco parentis. When a fellow law professor confides in Mr. Sullivan about a criminal matter, he sees a stellar résumé ; when a student who experiences sexual harassment confides in Mr. Sullivan, she sees a lawyer-for-hire behind the veil of a father figure equally ready, willing and capable of defending the other side and turning against her on a dime. An admirable trait in a good lawyer, but a terrible trait in a parent, even a loco one.

  199. @LdV So defense attorneys should forego parenthood?

  200. In the pit of my stomach I see Weinstein slipping off the hook that appears to now be well set. Similar to Robert Kraft in his legal process moving step by step towards not being found guilty by reason of entrapment. Wealth means not only the fact that you have a right for defense but that you can take the facts as malleable and twist them into "not guilty". People without wealth go to jail, people with wealth "settle".

  201. We are living in a time where white collar crime gets a pass, where the President gets to break the law with impunity, where Senators have no need to follow their oath of office, where rapists get a slap on the wrist by judges. Are you sure that the students are demanding safe spaces, or could it be that they are seeing a very unjust system that doesn’t work as promised? We sometimes confuse symptoms.

  202. When we apply respect at the level of 'sanctity' to the U.S. constitutional construct of the 'presumption of innocence', we should do so with the irrefutable knowledge at the forefront of our minds that our constitution was drafted/adopted by thinkers who imagined that women and people of color were 3/5 or less of their own humanity. Mr. Weinstein has already been afforded the inherently misogynist benefit of a system that has already called his accusers liars throughout the process of accusation, investigation, and prosecution. Perhaps if we started over with a constitution grounded in the concept that we're all equally human, we could take violence against women seriously rather than a system that re-rapes victims of sexual violence repeatedly.

  203. In giving examples of other non-existent cases, Professor Kennedy sets up straw men which is the first indication of a weak position. I heard Alan Dershowitz, that good friend of Trump and Fox news, on the BBC make the ludicrous claim that Professor Sullivan's defense of Weinstein is no different then lawyers defending those accused during the Red Scare and civil rights lawyers. He didn't mention that those lawyers who did so did it out of belief in the causes of their clients. I wonder if he's indicating that Sullivan believes in Weintstein's right to be a sexual predator. (And Dershowitz didn't mention the criticism he received for his role in the Klaus von Bulow case). And there might be a simple answer to all this. If Professor Sullivan is truly doing this in an interest of giving a person the best legal representation he can afford, let him give the no doubt high fee Weinstein is paying him to a charity that is working to fight against behaviors similar to what Weinstein is accused of. I believe that it is the major concern of the protestors is not that he is defending Weinstein but that he expects to make money off of it. If it's only an issue of right to counsel, let him go defend some indigent person accused of acts similar to what Weinstein is accused of.

  204. Intolerance in our society and the inability to allow other views has risen to such an extent that individuals can’t hold jobs unless they are like minded. Really? Shame on Harvard but shame on the younger generation for being so holier than thou. I find what Harvey Weinstein did repugnant but that does not mean he is not allowed a defense. We have to believe our criminal justice system will prevail an punish him. As we know, it doesn’t always work especially for the rush and powerful who often escape their comeuppance.