What heinous act led Sullivan (and, by extension, his wife, another Harvard Law instructor, Stephanie Robinson) to be fired from their Winthrop House position? He agreed (although later changed his mind) to represent accused rapist and sexual harasser, Harvey Weinstein in forthcoming criminal proceedings.Are you now, or have you ever been, associated with enemies of the people?
Students started protesting, even proclaiming that this act was “deeply trauma-inducing” and threatening. Admittedly, based on numerous news accounts, Weinstein appears to be one of the world’s most morally flawed individuals. But a basic core value of American liberal democracy is the rule of law, with all accused, even the most heinous, entitled to representation by competent legal counsel.
The good news is, Professor Sullivan's colleagues at Harvard Law and elsewhere have objected, forcefully.
Harvard, however, is derelict in perhaps its most important duty. "Students who feel so traumatized by thoughts differing from their own obviously do not belong at a serious university and should be encouraged to transfer elsewhere." That's the logic of Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit, but Harvard, apparently, is reverting to its divinity school origins, with True Doctrine being preached, and Heresy being excommunicated (fortunately, not yet sent to the scaffold or the ducking stool.)
Glenn "Insta Pundit" Reynolds quips that as the public and the public's delegates in the various legislatures take money away from higher education, the clerisy will complain about anti-intellectualism. It's self-inflicted.
Harvard is adding another nail into the coffin of American higher education. America’s universities are already in trouble, and declining public support will hurt them as they struggle to survive public revulsion over their high costs, limited learning, declining vocational outcomes and, increasingly, contempt for the institutions that made America the greatest country since the nation-state evolved centuries ago.If only they had listened.