Harvard University students living in the Winthrop House staged a sit-in to protest Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan Jr.’s decision to legally represent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, according to the school paper, The Crimson.
Sullivan oversees the Winthrop House.
The students don’t claim that Sullivan is a sexual predator or sexually harassed anyone; they’re upset because the lawyer took on a client. In the view of the students, simply agreeing to provide representation to a person charged with a crime is grounds to boycott the lawyer and drum them out of their job.
From The Crimson:
Our Harvard Can Do Better — an anti-sexual assault advocacy organization — read a list of demands at the event, including calling on the College to publicize the results of a climate review of Winthrop House and to create a system to hold faculty deans accountable. They also demanded that Sullivan apologize to house affiliates and delegate his ceremonial duties during Commencement to “an alternate,” and called for an “end to intimidation tactics.”
Winthrop student Hakeem O. I. Angulu ’20, explained it this way:
Let me be clear, the point about Harvey Weinstein deserving due process is a straw man argument and is a point that protesters have never disputed. The more specific and relevant point that we’re trying to make is that Dean Sullivan does not have to provide the representation, and by providing, he is compromising his ability to serve survivors and his house.
The protesters didn’t address the question why providing someone the best legal counsel they could would then compromise an ability to perform other duties which have been faithfully executed for years.