According to the Harvard Crimson the first African American faculty dean Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. has been fired after a mob of left-wing students called for him to be fired.
Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced that he will not renew Winthrop Faculty Deans Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. and Stephanie R. Robinson after their term ends on June 30 in an email to House affiliates Saturday morning.
The decision comes after more than three months of activism and outcry surrounding Sullivan’s decision to represent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — who stands accused of rape — and a day after The Crimson reportedallegations brought by Winthrop students, tutors, and staff of a toxic environment under Sullivan and Robinson stretching back years.
Khurana wrote in his email to Winthrop residents that he decided not to renew Sullivan and Robinson’s faculty dean appointments because the environment in the House was “untenable.”
“The actions that have been taken to improve the climate have been ineffective, and the noticeable lack of faculty dean presence during critical moments has further deteriorated the climate in the House,” Khurana wrote. “I have concluded that the situation in the House is untenable.”
Both were shocked by the firing and issued a statement:
Sullivan and Robinson wrote in an emailed statement to The Crimson they were surprised by the College’s decision and that Harvard “unilaterally” ended discussions they were having with University representatives.
“We are surprised and dismayed by the action Harvard announced today. We believed the discussions we were having with high level University representatives were progressing in a positive manner, but Harvard unilaterally ended those talks,” Sullivan and Robinson wrote. “We will now take some time to process Harvard’s actions and consider our options.”
“We are sorry that Harvard’s actions and the controversy surrounding us has contributed to the stress on Winthrop students at this already stressful time,” they added.
Dozens of students complained to Administrators:
Dozens of students met with Khurana, Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair, and Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay in Winthrop dining hall Saturday afternoon. Many hugged and thanked the administrators for their decision to not renew Sullivan and Robinson.
One part of this story that is getting little coverage is that the design editor for the Harvard Crimson was part of a group trying to get both of these Deans fired.
Mudannayake, who is also a Crimson design editor, said she woke up Saturday morning because her phone was buzzing with messages about the College’s decision not to renew Sullivan and Robinson. She said the rest of the day brought disbelief, then joy.
Winthrop resident Caroline R. Kaufman ’21, who co-wrote a post about the impact of Sullivan’s decision on people who have experienced sexual assault, said she entered the Winthrop dining hall Saturday afternoon to find a different environment from the one she experienced over the past several months.
“I went down to the dining hall after it happened when Rakesh was there and there were a lot of Winthrop staff members, and students there,” she said. “It was just the complete opposite of what the Winthrop dining hall environment has been for the last three months. It was just this happy, excited, relieved environment where everybody could talk about what they wanted to talk about.”
Though individual students like Mudannayake and Kaufman started organizing efforts against Sullivan, pre-existing student groups including anti-sexual assault advocacy group Our Harvard Can Do Better and the Association of Black Harvard Women often joined them. ABHW released a statement in February calling on Sullivan to step down, and Our Harvard Can Do Better staged a sit-in at Winthrop dining hall to “reclaim” the House.
What an absolutely disgusting story this is. The idea that students would organize to fire a lawyer who was doing his job just shows how far our college campuses have fallen. Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. is already claiming racism so it looks like these left-wing groups might get a taste of there own medicine.
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