May 15, 2019

"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."

An op-ed by Harvard lawprof Randall Kennedy (in the NYT).
In addition to his work as a professor and a lawyer, [Ronald] Sullivan, with his wife, Stephanie Robinson, has served for a decade as the faculty dean of Winthrop House, an undergraduate dormitory where some 400 students live.

As a faculty dean, Mr. Sullivan is responsible for creating a safe, fun, supportive environment in which students can pursue their collegiate ambitions. Winthrop House is meant to be a home away from home; faculty deans are in loco parentis. Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Robinson are expected to attend to the students as counselors, cheerleaders, impresarios and guardians....
Let's be clear what we're talking about: Sullivan is a law professor, but nothing is changing in his role as a law professor, and the students are not law students. These are undergraduates who were offered a special, welcoming, comforting living environment with Sullivan and his wife as their substitute parents. This wasn't about having their ideas challenged in class. This was about their home life. This was the university's idea of offering something like love and support to teenagers leaving their parents for the first time.

Students responded to this lure, and some of them got a man who has made it his work to construct legal arguments to further the ends of someone who they have reason to see as a human monster. Of course, in our system, the monsters get legal representation and their lawyers are doing difficult and ethical work, but meanwhile, these kids had a promise of a home, and Sullivan and his wife must have represented themselves as lovingly parental or they wouldn't have been given this position — or at least that's what Harvard entitled the students to think.
On Saturday, [dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana] announced that Mr. Sullivan and [his wife Stephanie] Robinson would no longer be deans of the college, citing their “ineffective” efforts to improve “the climate” at Winthrop....

The upshot is that Harvard College appears to have ratified the proposition that it is inappropriate for a faculty dean to defend a person reviled by a substantial number of students — a position that would disqualify a long list of stalwart defenders of civil liberties and civil rights, including Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall.
It doesn't appear that way to me. I'd say it just appears that the special parental role of the faculty dean requires some fact-specific analysis. Kennedy sets up the category "a person reviled by a substantial number of students" as what is disqualifying (and then names 2 great men who fit his category). [CLARIFICATION: By "fit his category," I meant to say that, like Sullivan, they defended  persons in the category.]

But what is the fact-specific analysis? Did the college cater to doctrinaire snowflakes? Or were the students justified in objecting to Sullivan as their counselor and substitute father? I'm just relying on the details as Kennedy presents them — that students said "they would not feel safe confiding in Mr. Sullivan about matters having to do with sexual harassment." Kennedy says he wishes the college would push the students to think hard about why they feel afraid and whether there's any indication that Sullivan has failed in performing his duties.

"One would hope, in short, that Harvard would seek to educate its students and not simply defer to vague apprehensions or pander to the imperatives of misguided rage," Kennedy writes.

The phrasing of that sentence is cagey. Kennedy doesn't and probably can't say that Harvard failed to try to educate its students or that it simply deferred or pandered to imperatives. And he doesn't say that the students' apprehensions were vague or that their dissatisfaction rose to the level of rage and that the rage was misguided. You see the intro "One would hope," and if you go to the op-ed, you'll see that this sentence is in a paragraph with hypotheticals, and the hypotheticals are not even about sexual violence. (He asks about atheist students objecting to a Christian faculty dean and conservative students objecting to a big leftist.)

Kennedy asserts that "Harvard officials are certainly capable of withstanding student pressure," but they just "don’t want to" because they think — or at least "have an affinity for the belief" — "that Mr. Sullivan’s representation of Mr. Weinstein constituted a betrayal of enlightened judgment." I think it's fair to characterize that as an accusation that the Harvard officials were being politically correct. Kennedy adds the very insulting, "Others have simply been willing to be mau-maued."

I'm not taking a position on the outcome here. I don't know enough about it. I think the "faculty dean" system is interesting. What does Harvard tell incoming students they'll get from it? Do the students arrive with an inappropriately inflated sense of entitlement or did Harvard give them this entitlement? If Harvard gave it, if the students accepted an offer to feel extra-safe and enfolded in the loving arms of a father figure, Harvard needs to follow through somehow.

But I don't know all the details. I'm not surprised to see professors championing their colleagues, and it's too easy to scoff at the students and their expectations. I'd like to get to the origins of the expectations and the role of faculty in creating those expectations.

ADDED: After writing this, I checked to see if I was consistent with what I wrote when a similar matter arose at Yale:
To be fair, I'd like to know more about what representations Yale made to the students it lured into matriculating. Was a "safe space" promised? Part of the "marketplace of ideas" that the Christakises champion is the marketplace of colleges where students get their choice. What did the Yale packaging say? I can't really judge the anger and the urgency of these students without knowing what other offers they had and what they were led to think they were buying when they picked Yale. A vibrant "intellectual space" sounds exciting to me, but is that what they were told they'd get if they came to Yale? Maybe some other schools offered a challenging intellectual environment and they passed on it, preferring a caring, nurturing setting. Were they deceived?
ALSO: Poking around on the Harvard website, looking for the public presentation of the idea of the "faculty dean" (previously, "master"), I found this Harvard Gazette article from 2010, "Setting up House/Couple at Winthrop are Harvard’s first African-American masters":
Some might argue that the role of House master, which involves managing the social, living, and curricular lives of hundreds of students while teaching and conducting research as a faculty member, is one of the most demanding on campus....

“Having a good sense of community is really important to us. We wanted very much to be present, and to have our presence felt. So, we did a lot in the beginning that will surely pay off later.”...

Sullivan and Robinson want to create a more robust Senior Common Room. They plan to host special masters’ teas with guests from around the world. As former actors, they want to bring more arts activities to the House. And, they want more and better sports activities.

“Most importantly,” Sullivan said, “we want to continue to work on scholarship. That’s what this is all about. We want to celebrate the scholar. We have already had special celebrations for those who have received recognition for scholastic achievement, such as the John Harvard Scholars. We want to place emphasis on our students’ being well-rounded individuals. Diversity of interests is very important to us.”

158 comments:

Seeing Red said...

Do the students arrive with an inappropriately inflated sense of entitlement or did Harvard give them this entitlement? If Harvard gave it, if the students accepted an offer to feel extra-safe and enfolded in the loving arms of a father figure, it needs to follow through somehow.


Little bit of A and B. Check your privilege.

Fen said...

These are undergraduates who were offered a special, welcoming, comforting living environment with Sullivan and his wife as their substitute parents.

What? Where are you getting this? It seems like you are going out of your way to imply he adopted students into his home to serve as their step-father.

Is the truth that inconvenient to the point you want to make?

AustinRoth said...

I truly cannot believe you are defending Harvard here.

You, too, have succumbed to the current SJW butterfly mentality that that which they disagree with is a 'threat to their well-being'.

You stated reasons are a muddle of incoherence as well. By your reasoning, any child should be able to 'fire' their parents for decisions that make them unhappy.

Preposterous and disappointing from someone who normally doesn't get so easily bamboozled.

mockturtle said...

"As a faculty dean, Mr. Sullivan is responsible for creating a safe, fun, supportive environment in which students can pursue their collegiate ambitions. Winthrop House is meant to be a home away from home; faculty deans are in loco parentis. Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Robinson are expected to attend to the students as counselors, cheerleaders, impresarios and guardians...."

This is just sad. At one time university students were considered adults, albeit callow ones, not fragile snowflakes in need of a nanny.

Fen said...

these kids had a promise of a home, and Sullivan and his wife must have represented themselves as lovingly parental

I was sober most my freshman year and never encountered this.

Fen said...

Sullivan and his wife must have represented themselves as lovingly parental

And how do you know this?

James K said...

It's worth noting that these are not "incoming" students. Students don't join a "house" until their sophomore year. As to "safe," that used to mean mainly just physical safety. Now it evidently means safe from having to consider uncomfortable ideas.

Sam L. said...

I see the students as "entitled" and Harvard as "rolling over and playing dead". Two "sides"; both Idjits. I guess it's an "Ivy thing".

Susan said...

What? And you a Law Professor?

I'm sorry but it has to be said.

James K said...

I wonder if Harvard will rename Adams House, since Harvard alum John Adams defended the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre.

Ann Althouse said...

"And how do you know this?"

Your question is premised on quoting me and leaving off the end of my sentence. Aren't you a little ashamed of doing that?

The sentence continues "— or at least that's what Harvard entitled the students to think."

I wrote it that way PRECISELY because I was aware that I did not know how Sullivan got the position.

As I say in the post, I would like to know a lot more about this "faculty dean" system. That includes wanting to know how good of a deal it is for the faculty (and their spouses) who choose this extra work. Is it a plum living environment for them?

Quayle said...

Job 1: get rid of the false and destructive notion that being "loving and supportive" does not involve doing thing that the "beloved and supported" don't like and don't want to have done to them.

That's the first concept in need of learning. Then we can move on to teach the reasons for and safety provided by allowing and supporting a vigorous defense against all government criminal prosecutions.

Achilles said...

The feminist dream has come true.

Mike Sylwester said...

The fundamental problem is that universities are enrolling too many students who lack the academic ability and the culture to succeed in the universities. Because many such students eventually fail, the universities feel compelled to blame their own institutional prejudices.

The universities have tried to remedy the problem by removing artworks, changing building names and forbidding ethnic costumes at fraternity and Halloween parties. However, the academic failures and the racism accusations will continue. Those remedies don't really help students who cannot and will not read their textbooks.

A few such students can be enrolled and can be provided special treatment to succeed. When too many such students are enrolled, however, the begin to encourage each other's misbehavior and grievances. This problem is aggravated by administrators who suggest and justify such students' accusations against their own universities.

Phil said...

"I'd like to get to the origins of the expectations and the role of faculty in creating those expectations."

You might want to go look at the 'dear colleague' letter. Then look to see how Harvard and its professors responded to it. Did they stand up for the fundamental civil rights of their X-chromosome challenged students? My money is on NO.

Hagar said...

The idea that universities should function as child care facilities for 20-somethings strike me as passing strange.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Oh, NOW you want to get to the “origins” ....

I’m sure Trump will be pleased and the deep state not be.

285exp said...

Maybe the students should consider that Sullivan's willingness to provide due process for unpopular defendants might be a feature, not a bug, and might come in handy at some point in their college careers.

CJinPA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CJinPA said...

What's kind of pathetic is that if the couple in question was not black, we would not be having this debate. People like Randall Kennedy certainly wouldn't care, so it really would not go beyond the standard gripes of libertarians and conservatives.

This is black academics vs. #MeToo white feminists, two groups vying for higher spots on what Heather MacDonald calls the Victim Totem Pole. So it's not as healthy an academic debate we're having as it seems.

Robert Cook said...

The students are being childish and ignorant, and Harvard is simply pandering to their childish ignorance. This could and should have been, as they say, "a teachable moment.

Do these children think defense attorneys must, by definition, like and agree with their defendants as people, or the crimes they have committed,(assuming they are guilty)? Do they not know that defense attorneys often defend people whom they deplore personally and whose crimes they abhor? Do they not know the purpose and role defense attorneys play in our system of justice? Do they think that some defendants do not deserve a robust defense?

For their childishness, a respected lawyer and academic has been publicly harmed.

Char Char Binks said...

Students should get veto votes on things like this depending on how much their parents paid in bribes for them to enter Harvard.

chuck said...

Well, that's a different take: Harvard is a crib. A rather expensive crib. Students who want an education should evidently go elsewhere.

Nonapod said...

My first impression is that this is another symptom of the disease infecting higher education. That disease is the indulging of the whims of SJWs, the whims of children, crybullies, young people with adult bodies but not yet fully developed brains.

My second impression is that I find it hard to have a lot of sympathy for the supposed victim. He strikes me as a celebrity lawyer who likes taking high profile cases for reasons of vanity. And he also contributed to the environment that gestated these nasty entitled little SJWs. He helped create Frankenstein's monster and only now is beginning to see the destruction this monster can wreak.

Seeing Red said...

Like a clock, Cookie. Right 2x a day.

Big Mike said...

The light dawns. I had been thinking that Dean Sullivan was the Dean of Harvard Law, but he isn’t (the Dean of Harvard Law is a white guy named John Manning). Sullivan is just a glorified house mother for a dorm full of entitled brats. I’ll bet some of those entitled brats have parents that make their living in unsavory ways, but never mind that. Unless Sullivan and his wife pull down seven digits for their house mothering duties, he’s better off away from the dorm and from the brats.

Looks like the position of Harvard’s undergrads is that uppity n-words gotta know their place.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
The students are being childish and ignorant, and Harvard is simply pandering to their childish ignorance. This could and should have been, as they say, "a teachable moment.

No, they are not being childish.

They are being little Maoist fucks like you leftists trained them to be. You all were just fine with your little pets driving conservatives and libertarians off campus.

Now you are just mad they are turning on you before you could send us to the camps and ovens.

BarrySanders20 said...

Interesting when everybody involved in this kerfuffle loses. Students - whiny child losers. Harvard - sullied reputation. Dean Rakesh Khurana -weak and pathetic. Sullivans - shunned. Weinstein - continued object of scorn. Leftist victimology - exposed.

Who wins? Big Popcorn.

robother said...

"The climate." With the Left, its always about the climate. Snowflakes need just the right climate maintained at all times, or they melt down. And of course, Harvard, as with most colleges and universities these days, is always marketing itself as the perfect climate for snowflake children. Ann sees a distinction based on the residence vs. the classroom, but I doubt most students make any such distinction. As the shutdown of "controversial" speakers on such campuses demonstrates.

buwaya said...

Universities should be places of stress and terror, designed to flense away weaknesses, and purge those too weak to take it.
That is honorable.

Fen said...

Your question is premised on quoting me and leaving off the end of my sentence. Aren't you a little ashamed of doing that?

Not at all, I asked the question in good faith, as you appeared to be assuming things you couldn't possibly know. Like a gossip.

The sentence continues "— or at least that's what Harvard entitled the students to think.

Yes, but your "or at least" doesn't clear things up, both reads are still possible 1) you are assuming they must have presented themselves as lovingly parental, AND 2) Harvard entitled students to think they did.

Michael K said...

The fundamental problem is that universities are enrolling too many students who lack the academic ability and the culture to succeed in the universities. Because many such students eventually fail, the universities feel compelled to blame their own institutional prejudices.

Bingo ! This all began with the "occupation" of Columbia U in the late 60s led by former AG Eric Holder

In 1969, while a freshman at Columbia, Holder was one of several dozen students who staged an occupation of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps office, renaming it as the Malcolm X student center.

He did more than that but it's Wikipedia.

Richard Dolan said...

Note that AA is just taking Randall Kennedy's description of the Harvard house system and, accepting that as the factual premise, deconstructing his argument. So run with that.

Where I part company is AA's treatment of Kennedy's (short) list of horribles -- about which AA comments: "the hypotheticals are not even about sexual violence. (He asks about atheist students objecting to a Christian faculty dean and conservative students objecting to a big leftist.)" The premise is that Sullivan is supposedly a 'substitute father,' and so the contrast is supposed to be between a daughter's unwillingness to confide in dear old lawyer-dad about sexual violence if dad is defending someone accused of that, versus a daughter willing to confide in dad if she views his deeply held religious views as a silly fairy tale or his politics as racist, sexist, and the rest of the usual list. If that's what this comes down to, Kennedy has the better of the argument. If dear old dad's politics are racist, sexist, etc., that seems a bit more personal and descriptive of dad and his psychological make-up, than a lawyer-dad's willingness to accept a professional engagement defending someone accused of a serious crime.

Even a Harvard undergrad should be able to get the difference.

Fen said...

Aren't you a little ashamed of doing that?

And don't get pissy with me for not understanding you and asking for clarification.

Go fuck yourself. Does that answer your question?

Geez.

rhhardin said...

Some adult check on children being stupid is good for the children.

Achilles said...

It makes me feel bad that it has come to this.

But Ann and Cook have been training these little shits for decades telling them how bad and evil white men are. Greed. White privilege. Misogyny.

You created these victims. You cried crocodile tears for decades.

Now the tears are real.

narayanan said...

...students said "they would not feel safe confiding in Mr. Sullivan about matters having to do with sexual harassment."

FROM which side of the sexual harassment accusation?

there is presupposition or confusion?

Freeman Hunt said...

Daddy won't have time to kiss the boo-boos if he's off defending the big bad man. What else could they do?

rehajm said...

This is just sad. At one time university students were considered adults, albeit callow ones, not fragile snowflakes in need of a nanny.

When I arrived as a freshman over a generation ago I was surprised how maternal the college acted towards the students...and how many of my classmates needed it.

Richard Fagin said...

Origin of the expectations: Catharine MacKinnon and the Meritor Savings Bank case. If you couldn't see coming the metamorphosis of "hostile environment" sex discrimination into a requirement for "safe spaces" then you are a poor student of history and an even worse observer of human nature.

YoungHegelian said...

This wasn't about having their ideas challenged in class. This was about their home life. This was the university's idea of offering something like love and support to teenagers leaving their parents for the first time.

And, what --- did students at Harvard not understand what "University Daddy" did for a living? He was a lawyer, and a damn good one, which is why he was at Harvard & why kids like them flock to Harvard to study with him. Lawyers defend scumbags because even scumbags have rights. This isn't difficult.

Are we to believe that these students are the finest in the world, which is what Harvard would have you believe of its students & faculty? It's difficult to believe, isn't it? My thought is "What a bunch of childish losers!".

Does Harvard not understand what it's doing to its brand by permitting this & other recent fuck-ups to go unchallenged? Right now, the idea of hiring a Harvard grad would give me the willies. Since I'm just a small-business guy, that amounts to nothing. But, if I'm thinking it, there are no doubt some important guys in major businesses who are thinking the same thing. And that's not good for Harvard or its graduates. No one wants to go in for a job interview & have the first question be "So, are you one of those Harvard crazy-ass snowflakes I'm hearing about?".



Sheridan said...

Colleges/universities should run a four-week military boot camp for incoming students. Every day, three times a day, tell those snowflakes who can't take it anymore that they are free to leave the camp that day but if they do so, they cannot attend the school of their choice. Those who are left at the end of the four weeks may be the kind of students the country needs as contributors and leaders.

Left Bank of the Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

"It doesn't appear that way to me. I'd say it just appears that the special parental role of the faculty dean requires some fact-specific analysis."

So, a defense lawyer providing the legal services to which even "monsters" have the right are unfit parents thereby, eh?

Bah.

Btw, I thought American universities ditched that oppressive in loco parentis stuff back in the '60s. Because, you know, undergraduate-age students were like, totally adults who didn't need protection or to be told how to live.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The title "faculty dean" in the Harvard house system is the replacement for the longstanding title "house master". The title was changed in what was then widely described as a fit of political correctness but that have been a subterfuge for title inflation. There are 26 of them, 2 for each of 13 undergraduate houses, and I believe that all of them are couples.

It's a side gig to the academic career, so representing Weinstein would in this case be a second side gig. Leaving aside the expectations of students, the expectations of Harvard and the people taking the job is that the faculty dean will create a house environment in which the students of the house can take pride. His boss judged that by failing to present his representation of Weinstein in a manner in which his students could take pride, Sullivan was failing at his job. But, as I understand it, his boss didn't fire him. Faculty deanships at Harvard are not lifetime appointments. His boss didn't renew him and his wife for another term.

Perhaps failing at his Harvard side gig was Sullivan's best option. He may have judged that putting on a good face for his faculty deanship was not consistent with his ethical duty as a lawyer to represent his client zealously. He's now withdrawn from his representation of Weinstein, on the basis that that the September trial dates would interfere with his Harvard Law School teaching schedule ("too late to arrange a sabbatical or alternative teaching schedule").

Left Bank of the Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MacMacConnell said...

"See, the thing that kept the Establishment in power was the veneer of legitimacy over our institutions which made us defer to them even when we felt they were wrong.

But maintaining that veneer got inconvenient, so they stopped try to.

Now we won't obey.

Stupid Ruling Class.", Kurt Schlichter


There is nothing more Ruling Class than Harvard and the Ivy League. Who really are the Deplorables?

CJinPA said...

No, they are not being childish.They are being little Maoist fucks...

This is an important point. Even without the Mao or any ideological reference.

The students, and the administrators who enable them, are behaving quite rationally. Any of us, regardless of where we are on the ideological spectrum, would be tempted to behave this way IF WE COULD. Leftists to this BECAUSE THEY CAN. The risk is much, much lower than the reward. We'd all be tempted to do it if we could (though I like to think I would not.)

The administrators rightly fear for their jobs if they stand up to the students. This is completely rational, even if it's cowardly.

Until there is a price to pay for how today's students and administrators are behaving, it won't stop. They are doing exactly what you would expect people to do given the circumstances.

cubanbob said...

Harvard is rather pricey for daycare. These kids ought to be sent back to kindergarten where they belong and free up slots for young adults.

Narr said...

Let's all be friends!

I won't comment on Harvard (despite or because of a lifetime in public academe, I always feel like an impostor when I venture onto Ivy-grounds, either literally or the other literally), but I'll observe what might be the flipside of Ivy-entitlement.

It was explained to me a few years ago, by a much more accomplished scholar and administrator than I, that without numerous football and basketball scholarships every year, our enrollment, especially our minority enrollment, would plummet. (The school has bucked the overall decline in HE numbers through some luck and good strategic planning, so far.)

More recently I ran into the same friend at the rec center (I paddle about the pool, he works out and plays hoops) and his wisdom that day was the proverbial "The most expensive sports program is a losing one." I didn't bother with the obvious retort.

Narr
The teams have gotten better, FWIW

Not Sure said...

Too bad Sullivan's job title got changed to "dean" from "House Master" a couple of years ago. He could've cracked the whip on this rabble.

Harvard's next step? Get rid of residential deans entirely and let the Houses be run by Committees of Public Safety.

Amadeus 48 said...

I am sorry, folks, but this whole controversy doesn’t sound right to me, and I am extremely suspicious of the way it is being reported. This sounds like a situation where a group of extremely doctrinaire and activist students started pushing a political line and kept going. I have a picture in my mind of that nasty, vulgar undergraduate at Yale screaming at Eric Costakis over Halloween costumes, talking about how she didn’t feel safe at her college over Halloween costumes! That was stupid. That was using buzzwords to disarm someone she disagreed with.

In an ideal world these house deans (who used to be called “masters” but are not now for reasons you can probably imagine) would be a married couple who would provide some adult interaction that undergraduates could model. I have never met Ronald Sullivan, but I bet most of us would like him. I suspect that the climate that existed in Winthrop house went bad when certain politically active residents didn’t get their way in prescribing the acceptable range of expression and proscribing certain ideas, and now Harvey Weinstein! What do you have to do to get your way???!!!

Well, too bad kids. You missed a great chance to get to know Ronald Sullivan and his wife. It’s your loss.

Phil said...

"I'd say it just appears that the special parental role of the faculty dean requires some fact-specific analysis"

Here's a fact: he'd been doing it for a decade. Is there a pattern here, or is it just this one thing?

Honestly Ann, this is bullshit and you know it. Personally I find this whole faculty dorm mother idea to be infantilizing and pathetic, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised when the students act like infants.

CJinPA said...

Origin of the expectations: Catharine MacKinnon and the Meritor Savings Bank case. If you couldn't see coming the metamorphosis of "hostile environment" sex discrimination into a requirement for "safe spaces" then you are a poor student of history and an even worse observer of human nature.

Also note the increased use of the word "violence" that slyly replaces the common usage ("behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something") with the obscure ("strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.")

Result: I can't legally prevent your words. But I can legally prevent your violence. So, your words = violence and you'll shut up now.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Btw, "Winthrop House"? Sounds not only white and male and patriarchal, but hideously Anglo-Saxon to boot. Guess the diddums can only focus on one triggering at a time, but no doubt they'll eventually get around to demanding a name change.

bleh said...

The students should grow the fuck up. You're at Harvard for crying out loud. Do they really think Sullivan might rape them or something? That's the only way I can rationalize any of their concerns about "safety."

Freeman Hunt said...

All parents should keep rough will and won't pay for lists of colleges. Don't pay for this.

Virgil Hilts said...

I am withholding judgment. My wife (Harvard undergrad) had exact same reaction as Ann, while I had the same reaction as Randall Kennedy. It's possible that this guy was doing a poor job over last 10 years as master and this was the straw that broke. . .
I will say that the idea of feeling safe... What a joke. There is no f-ing way I would allow a son to go to Yale or Harvard. The story about the guy suspended by Yale is just unbelievable. Yale Sucks I know other places are as bad and I would write those off as well.

TerriW said...

I'd love to see the students write a comparison essay about this potentially paternal situation vs. famous father Atticus Finch.

Henry said...

Sullivan is famous as defense attorney. He has defended many distasteful people, both rich and poor.

In 2016 he was a member of the team defending ex-NFL player and serial murderer Aaron Hernandez.

Who protested then?

Henry said...

The Sullivan as parent concept is weird on its face.

How is he supposed to address students who think of him like that?

Sorry, Junior. Daddy's going to work.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Amadeus 48: I suspect that the climate that existed in Winthrop house went bad when certain politically active residents didn’t get their way in prescribing the acceptable range of expression and proscribing certain ideas, and now Harvey Weinstein! What do you have to do to get your way???!!!

"Testing their limits" as the child psychs say. But instead of imposing limits the adults went in for decades of "It's good what you're doing, Timmy. A real good thing!"

Too late now, they're all psychopaths.

tim maguire said...

I don't see any reason why only law students should be expected to understand the importance of the right to fair trial. If these young adults (no, Sullivan is not their 'father away from home'--they are adults). Any student who can't respect a lawyer who has an unpopular client needs to be educated. Harvard does these people no favors when it caters to their small minded stupidity.

Amadeus 48 said...

I have always thought that the principal benefit of going to an Ivy League school was getting to know the other people in your class, many of whom would go on to great things.
Just think, if you had gone to Columbia, you might have known Eric Holder!

bleh said...

I think it's extremely naive (or something) to view this decision in a vacuum, as AA has, while ignoring the terrible effect it will have on both academic freedom and the student body's moral and intellectual development. Harvard is an institution of higher learning whose mission is to turn out educated 22 year olds into the workforce, grad school and society in general. Caving to the demands of woke 18 year olds does them no favors and merely forestalls their growth as young adults.

It's not as though Sullivan were just a full-time dean whose inappropriate behavior made his continued employment "untenable." He's a professor of law who has represented lots of clients, including, in the recent past, an accused double murderer (Aaron Hernandez). He's just doing his job, and as a result he's suffered negative employment consequences. Harvard's failure to back him only emboldens his critics who will just repeat this same exercise again, probably to get Sullivan or some other law prof fired from the law faculty.

If Harvard undergrads can't grasp that lawyers represent bad people sometimes, the university shouldn't merely tolerate or give in to that. The university should stick to their guns and force the students grow up a little.

Henry said...

What about the students who weren't looking for a parent, but a mentor -- and admired Sullivan for his advocacy of the unpopular, his professional standards, and his intellect? Why are they being ignored?

rhhardin said...

It's not about a right to a fair trial but the right to make convictions happen only against the best possible defense. For which you need the best possible defense.

mesquito said...

The error is taking at face value these little passive-aggressive fascists when they start talking about what they need to feel “safe.”

Amadeus 48 said...

I am with you, Henry at 11:48.

glenn said...

cubanbob said

“Harvard is rather pricey for daycare. These kids ought to be sent back to kindergarten where they belong and free up slots for young adults.”

This.

Slip said...

Your clown world is a masterpiece. Keep building.

johns said...

"in loco parentis" is really not what universities do today. That term used to mean something, e.g. 10PM curfew for women during the week, etc. I don't think Harvard has any actual control over their students today. So Harvard shouldn't be allowed to hide behind this concept to protect their sensitive children at Winthrop House

Pat said...

Loving, caring parents who only have 399 other children? At my college, the dorms had about 100 students in each, and believe me, we did not look to the RDs as loving and caring. Yes, they were the people you went to when there was a minor, intra-dorm problem that they could solve--too loud music at too late an hour, for example. They weren't there to handle major problems.

Bay Area Guy said...

Revenge of the spoiled Ivy League, highly educated, snowflakes!

Premise 1: Harvey "I am not a potted plant" is a Hollywood sleazebag, charged with rape.

Premise 2: Even Hollywood sleazebags have a right to counsel to defend against rape charges.

Premise 3: The lawyers who defend Hollywood sleazebags from rape charges, are not necessarily sleazebags themselves. They may, in fact, be honorable folks, simply trying to vigorously defend their clients against horrific allegations.

Premise 4: Every sane person on Planet Earth accepted Premise 3 decades ago. See Gideon's Trumpet.


Conclusion: There's a lotta ignorant weenies studying at Harvard.

Earnest Prole said...

Substitute parents says it all.

Robert Cook said...

"They are being little Maoist fucks like you leftists trained them to be. You all were just fine with your little pets driving conservatives and libertarians off campus.

"Now you are just mad they are turning on you before you could send us to the camps and ovens."


You really should think about seeking help dealing with your delusions.

SeanF said...

Althouse: Kennedy sets up the category "a person reviled by a substantial number of students" as what is disqualifying (and then names 2 great men who fit his category).

I think you're slightly mistaken here. Kennedy did not identify either Houston or Marshall as "a person reviled", he identified them as people who "defend[ed] a person reviled".

Robert Cook said...

"Any of us, regardless of where we are on the ideological spectrum, would be tempted to behave this way IF WE COULD."

Speak for your yourself, bub.

JAORE said...

So, if I lived in that dorm I can demand an old, chubby, conservative whose views jibe with mine on every particular? Can I insist on a detailed bio of the person and spouse to decide they have lived a life I can celebrate?

After all one of my fears may involve age, or liberalism, of fat shaming.

The school should have had a mandatory education/training session of rights in the US focusing on the legal process. Failure to attend/sit in rapt attention and pass the quiz results in public derision followed by expulsion.

Oh the horror.

MB said...

I recall an incident, not nearly as dramatic, when a group of medical students presented grievances to the administration. Instead of listening, they were just told that there were plenty of people who would be willing to take their place and it was suggested that if they had a real problem, they should leave so someone else could replace them.

I wonder what would have have happened if Harvard had taken a similar position?

KheSanh 0802 said...

This comment section is too long for me to start linking to all the articles that condemn Harvard's removal of Sullivan. Skimming, I see many of the good arguments condemning Harvard that I used in a communication to the President of Harvard University. It was a bad decision for legal, moral, ethical and educational reasons.

My addition is that Sullivan was, essentially, the Housemaster of Winthrop House so the case is very similar to the one at Yale which was also a disgrace.

JAORE said...

By the way, that definition of safe is WAY stupid.

tim maguire said...

rhhardin said...
It's not about a right to a fair trial but the right to make convictions happen only against the best possible defense. For which you need the best possible defense.


A distinction without a difference.

hawkeyedjb said...

Robert Cook said...
"Do these children think defense attorneys must, by definition, like and agree with their defendants as people, or the crimes they have committed,(assuming they are guilty)? "

An acquaintance is a defense attorney who works on capital cases. He has clients on death row who hate him. Judges hate him. He recently won an appeal on a case in which the client, the judge and the opposing counsel all hated him.

By the Harvard Snowflake Standard, he should never be allowed near a student. But he is a good and humble citizen who would be able to teach any student a great many things that young people need to learn. The same things could be learned from a man like Ronald Sullivan, but the students don't want the benefit of Mr. Sullivan's knowledge, and the administration at Harvard is unable or unwilling to explain this to them. Sad, but more for the students. Ronald Sullivan will be just fine.

iowan2 said...

My kids are now parents in their mid 30's. Two things. Neither of them would have the time or inclination to know anything about this idiocy even if it were on their doorstep. They went to college to earn a degree, and that consumed most of their time. Idiocy that does not interfere with their goal, is easily ignored. College kids have way too much free time if they can put energy into something so petty.
Don't these kids read To Kill a Mockingbird anymore? Absent that, don't they spend a week getting to know ALL of the Bill of Rights? Have they never heard Miranda Rights recited on TV and had just a grain of curiosity about what was being said...and why.
The only correct response to the students, was. I hear you, you are wrong on the facts and the intent of your housing. Accept what you cant change and go back to studying.
They are adults and its a great time for them to sacrifice of themselves to advance their agenda. Move if you have a problem.

narayanan said...

the irony of it all - the man making this decision

Khurana is the author of the book, Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs and related academic and managerial articles on the pitfalls of charismatic leadership.[citation needed] In 2007 he published his second book From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession (Princeton University Press).[citation needed] The book received the Max Weber prize from the American Sociological Association's Organizations, Occupations, and Work Section and was the Winner of the 2009 Gold Medal Axiom Business Book Award in Career, Jenkins Group, Inc. and the Winner of the 2007 Best Professional/Scholarly Publishing Book in Business, Finance and Management, Association of American Publishers and the Finalist for the George R. Terry Award from the Academy of Management.

cfkane1701 said...

Reading about this on another site, I found an article in the Crimson reporting on how Sullivan and his wife were not very good house deans. There is a supervisory level below them which has had ten occupants in ten years. In that period, all the other houses have had no more than two. The Crimson suggests the couple runs the house with a "my way or the highway" and "you're either with us or against us" mentality. They seem to have a lot of disillusioned former assistants and students in their wake.

Now, this could be the Crimson providing cover for the firing. It could also be Harvard wanting to get rid of an incompetent house dean without facing racism charges and he gave them the perfect excuse.

But his incompetence is not what the students were protesting, and the administration cited his defense of Weinstein in its press release.

The students are indeed ignorant and totalitarian, the administration is indeed weak, but Sullivan and his wife are not necessarily the wronged angels some make them out to be.

StephenFearby said...

If a Harvard student would like counseling, the Harvard student counseling center has 29 mental health practitioners, student peer counselors and two therapy animals (with their pictures):

Cabot the Therapy Dog
Tulip The Therapy Dog

https://camhs.huhs.harvard.edu/our-team
https://camhs.huhs.harvard.edu/files/camhs/files/needabreak2019candt.pdf

Sullivan is a law professor, not a licensed mental health practitioner.

Since the mob enthusiastically embraces political correctness and identity politics, the Harvard mob should take their cue from the Red Guards of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and demand that Sullivan be paraded around Harvard Yard wearing a dunce cap.

Michael K said...

I found an article in the Crimson reporting on how Sullivan and his wife were not very good house deans. There is a supervisory level below them which has had ten occupants in ten years. In that period, all the other houses have had no more than two. The Crimson suggests the couple runs the house with a "my way or the highway" and "you're either with us or against us" mentality. They seem to have a lot of disillusioned former assistants and students in their wake.

First good contrary argument I have seen.

"Get Woke, Go Broke," is the answer. Also Pottery Barn Rule. "You broke it."

Virgil Hilts said...

cfkane1701 I think nails it. H Admin has probably wanted to get rid of the guy from this position for years but because of race he was untouchable. Harvey gave them the excuse they needed.

tim maguire said...

Virgil Hilts said...
cfkane1701 I think nails it. H Admin has probably wanted to get rid of the guy from this position for years but because of race he was untouchable. Harvey gave them the excuse they needed.


That there was a possible legitimate reason just makes it worse.

Phil said...

"Maybe Sullivan had it coming for other reasons". So what? Let's assume arguendo that everything in the Crimson article is true, and Harvard was just looking for an excuse to get rid of an obnoxious couple. This is still a stunningly bad excuse.

catter said...

Why so much hate for AA when she's performing the lawyerly task of building the best possible case for an unpopular plaintiff?
Put another way, she's asking to see the contract that her clients claim was breached.

Brian said...

These are undergraduates who were offered a special, welcoming, comforting living environment with Sullivan and his wife as their substitute parents. This wasn't about having their ideas challenged in class. This was about their home life. This was the university's idea of offering something like love and support to teenagers leaving their parents for the first time.

To extend the hypothetical then, is Sullivan unfit to be an actual parent because of his legal defense efforts? Should the state be allowed to take his kids if he had any? Surely in loco parentis of actual adults is a lower standard than actual parenting of a child incapable of acting in their own interests.

What about if he wanted to adopt kids, should who he defends in his legal practice be considered for his fitness as a parent? You could argue that his stance on clients puts him in real physical danger since there appears to be people that blame him instead of the defendant. It would put any child they want in danger as well.

It seems like Harvard would wish this to all go away and their plan is to appease the students on what appears to the administration as a minor matter. Good luck with that.

Having achieved this victory, I expect the students will start looking for more trophies to hang on the wall.

Amadeus 48 said...

Harvard Crimson article is one I had read when I said I am suspicious of the reporting on this. I think it is balderdash. It seems like piling on using phony non-controversies to add to the case to get rid of Sullivan. I am not buying it.

One of the other controversies involves one of Sullivan’s staff members and his wife (both of whom are black) getting into an argument about Sullivan’s representation of Weinstein with one of the student firebrands (who is also black) with the end result that the student reported to the authorities that as a result of the argument she didn’t feel (wait for it) “safe”. I call baloney on this. There is a lot going on here.

I think the Crimson is trying to add fuel to the fire to get rid of Sullivan, but this is all really about Weinstein.

donald said...

I sure hope they replace him with a white guy. That would be super.

Caligula said...

their “ineffective” efforts to improve “the climate” at Winthrop...."

Climate change! Is there anything it can't ruin? Oh, not that climate, but some poorly defined emotional "climate"?


Of course, in the ancient dark ages of higher education, schools assumed an "in loco parentis" role. But, back then "in place of the parent" was intended to be a replacement for parental discipline.

Whereas today the only discipline that's enforced in student residences is political, and "in place of a parent" has been defined-down to refer solely to the comforting and protecting aspects of the parental role.

BlackjohnX said...

These are undergraduates who were offered a special, welcoming, comforting living environment with Sullivan and his wife as their substitute parents.

That statement is ludicrous. I was in Lowell House. I saw the Master at meals at a distance surrounded by other faculty at a special table, raised above the level we sat at. I cannot ever remember having a personal conversation with him nor ever thinking that he was there to welcome, comfort and mentor me. He was just the guy in charge in case shit hit the fan.

Amadeus 48 said...

“In loco parentis”—hah!

Any parents around here condone turning college dorms into brothels? How about having you roommate’s girlfriend move in with him in your dorm suite?

The parents left the college buildings a long time ago. The kids got what they said they wanted and now they don’t like it. Boo-hoo.

Amadeus 48 said...

Winthrop House
It’s just me and my 400 kiddies growing wise together.
Just think of “The Waltons” with a lot more kids.

sean said...

It perpetually baffles me that professors like Althouse think that their readers are so stupid that we believe that the students lead these crusades and the administration gives in. Everyone knows that the faculty and administration control the students and use them to crush adversaries within the university. It's like pretending that Jessie's puppies chased Napoleon off the farm on their own initiative, when it's the university establishment, in which Prof. Althouse was once a minor player, that trains and directs the puppies.

Robert Cook said...

"cfkane1701 I think nails it. H Admin has probably wanted to get rid of the guy from this position for years but because of race he was untouchable. Harvey gave them the excuse they needed."

If so, in taking an expedient path to remove them, they have set a terrible example and a worse precedent in dealing with the children.

hawkeyedjb said...

I am sickened by the idea that students go to college to seek a warm, welcoming, safe, comforting environment. Even the slightest challenge, only tangentially related to them, is considered too much to bear?

EAB said...

This was a teaching moment that seems to have been wasted. A time to educate these students and lead them away from acting out and making arguments based solely on some obscure “right” to feel safe. There is always tension when dealing with principles. It’s not bad to be uncomfortable.

I have difficulties with the argument that someone doesn’t “feel” safe. I worked in the Trade Center. As I headed to work on 9/11, I “felt” perfectly safe. In reality, I wasn’t. If I’d arrived a half hour or 20 minutes earlier, I’d be dead.

I can adjust my feelings if I focus on reality. I cannot adjust reality to suit my feelings (or desires). The reality is the world is made up of people who disagree with me on many (If not most) things. That doesn’t make me unsafe. I’ve seen people play the “unsafe” card or demand “you need to affirm my feelings so I feel safe”. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can’t. Me not affirming your feelings or challenging them doesn’t make you unsafe.

Virgil Hilts said...

Robert Cook -- I agree 100% that this still makes Harvard look bad if it was a pretense dismissal. It's a different kind - an "opportunistic, manipulative sleaziness" rather than a "quivering cowardice in the face of snowflakes" bad.

Bay Area Guy said...

If you have high school teenagers (and I still have a couple), the key is to have them study hard to get into Harvard, and apply, if they like. If accepted, though, reject those whiney little snowflakes, and go to an SEC school, like Vanderbilt.

Or, go to Annapolis or Colorado Springs or West Point.

Or, you postpone college, and enlist in the military, and get some good adult experience, before college.

Just say No to Harvard. They are non-bionormative, cisgenderered weenies.

Fernandistein said...

Mr. Sullivan’s representation of Mr. Weinstein ...

... makes me wonder how much he got paid for his part-time job at Harvard.

constituted a betrayal of enlightened judgment."

LOL.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think you're slightly mistaken here. Kennedy did not identify either Houston or Marshall as "a person reviled", he identified them as people who "defend[ed] a person reviled"."

Thanks. I didn't misunderstand it. I just wrote badly. I added a clarification.

Ann Althouse said...

When professors blame students, I always hesitate. These are kids. How did they get like that? And exactly how are they? I don't trust the descriptions provided by the older generation.

clint said...

In loco parentis?

I'm sure a lot has changed in the past few decades, but I only met my House Master perhaps half a dozen times, and it would never, ever have occurred to me to have considered him a parent.

Michael K said...

Or, you postpone college, and enlist in the military, and get some good adult experience, before college.

My advice to my son. I have no idea if he will take it. His son is 14.

Michael K said...


Blogger hawkeyedjb said...
I am sickened by the idea that students go to college to seek a warm, welcoming, safe, comforting environment.


A lot of these students are black. I wonder how many are "Mismatch" examples and angry at failing?

bagoh20 said...

"I'm not taking a position on the outcome here."

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

bagoh20 said...

It looks like we have daycare at both ends of the education path.

TJM said...

Higher Education is run by a bunch of puerile morons. States and the federal government needs to take a meat ax to these institutions.

bagoh20 said...

As a long-term employer who has hired and employed over 1500 humans, I now avoid college students and graduates like the plague. It's too hot in a real work environment for snowflakes to survive. The others outside that system are quickly gaining an advantage over them by avoiding the disabling infections running rampant in higher education. It will soon be an understood advantage to have not attended college.

Wilson Carroll said...

"Reading about this on another site, I found an article in the Crimson reporting on how Sullivan and his wife were not very good house deans."

This article says less than 1% of Harvard students would choose to live at Winthrop House with Sullivan and his wife in charge. Apparently they demeaned the tutors working under them by demanding they perform menial tasks like taking their clothes to the cleaners. At one point a few years ago half the resident tutors at Winthrop were on the verge of walking out.

There's much more to the story, but Sullivan (and Harvard) have deliberately chosen to make it about his representation of Weinstein. Damned either way, from Harvard's perspective.

Milwaukie guy said...

If Sullivan wanted a controversial case, he should of taken a cop killer. He wouldn't have any Harvard problems at least.

Quaestor said...

How much does Harvard cost per semester, and doesn't that sizable amount buy a certain level of entitlement?

Lou M said...

For heavens' sake--this guy Sullivan defended a person who was effectively a serial killer, and no one screamed about safety. Not Harvard, not the ignorant students in the House; no one. The university is simply enabling an irrational prejudice on the part of the undergrads, one that cuts at the foundation of the 6th Amendment right to counsel. But given that Harvard has already assaulted the First Amendment (freedom of association), maybe this wasn't that big a leap.

Sam L. said...

Harvard is no longer capable of being a college.

mockturtle said...

Angle-Dyne observes: Too late now, they're all psychopaths.

I'm beginning to think so. In yesterday's local news, two girls at a Yuma high school flushed a live bird down the toilet. They were given a warning. I'm glad I'm old because I shudder to think what's coming down the pike.

KheSanh 0802 said...

Michelle Malkin interviews the Harvard Crimson reporter who led the charge against Sullivan. She's quite proud of her role.

Here's how the President of the university described Sullivan's performance in a letter to me:
"Ron and Stephanie have made admirable and worthwhile contributions as faculty deans and valued members of our community. They have supported students facing difficult situations throughout the years and made important progress in support of civic engagement and diversity within their House." Hard to see from that what the performance case was for firing the Dean.

This seems a far cry from the principle applied when John Adams (H 1755) defended the British soldiers involved in the "Boston Massacre".

KheSanh 0802 said...

Ann; These are not "kids". Kids go to high school. The residents of Winthrop House are sophomores, juniors and seniors. They are old enough to vote (God help us) and old enough to be drafted were there still such a thing. They would bridle if you called them "kids" in fact you'd probably get the Sullivan treatment. When I resided in Winthrop House I believe I saw the Housemaster twice a year: at Xmas and Commencement ( I took his famous Sea Power course so there was that exception for a semester). I no more thought of him as a parent than I did the statue of John Harvard in the Yard.

Sebastian said...

"Kennedy adds the very insulting, "Others have simply been willing to be mau-maued.""

I'm with Kennedy, not with cagey Althouse. Harvard and its arrogant snowflakes deserve to be insulted.

Ken B said...

Ann's argument fails on its own terms because it implies lawyers with kids cannot represent the guilty, or the unnerving. And what about lawyers who coach little league or girls' basketball? Lawyers who act in community theater, lawyers who volunteer at the library?

No. John Adams is a clearer thinker than Ann Althouse here. If we encourage social sanctions against lawyers because of whom they defend we undercut the fairness of our trials.

Ken B said...

I wonder if Althouse endorses what seems to me to be implicit here: that sex charges should carry an ineradicable taint. After all, Sullivan defended a serial killer. But Weinstein’s taint, as merely accused, is so strong no one can represent him and not be attainted. That will be true a fortiori if he is convicted, so will apply to anyone who represents him on appeal. Or before a parole board a decade from now.

Michael said...

Rakesh Khurana is a Professor of Sociology a made up field and flexible enough to adapt rapidly to the social justice wars. He is from India and thus hasnt the slightest idea about our system of justice and our noble tradition of providing defense to the accused who until recently were innocent until proven guilty. The student snowflakes should have been asked to pound sand.

Sebastian said...

"I think it's extremely naive (or something) to view this decision in a vacuum, as AA has, while ignoring the terrible effect it will have on both academic freedom and the student body's moral and intellectual development."

Althouse is not naive, just cagey. The underlying issue is women's bodies: if girls don't feel safe, the mean man has got to go. Did any guy express fear of the Big Bad Negro?

Defending a murderer is fine -- after all, the guy only killed another guy, so who cares? Defending Weinstein is a women's issue, therefore a step too far.

The effect is not terrible: it just teaches everyone the right moral lessons. Plus the meta lesson: that progs rule. Neither Harvard nor the victorious students make any attempt to hide the lessons. They take pride in it. In her quasi-lawyerly way, Althouse can't say they are wrong.

Michael K said...

Rakesh Khurana is a Professor of Sociology a made up field and flexible enough to adapt rapidly to the social justice wars.

Has anyone else noticed the number of Indian names of those making stupid decisions in marketing and brands ?

Hitesh Bhasin is enthusiastic about Gillette's marketing.

Sundar Pichel.

TWW said...

There is another solution: don't provide a surrogate mom and dad.

Scott said...

Several have already pointed out that the logic used to trash Sullivan might be applied against, say a radical feminist by male students, or a committed Democrat by a young Trump supporter. Of course (in the unlikely event that either of these potential 'victims' would ever be permitted to speak in the first place) if such a complaint was made it would be ignored with a 'that is different' comment to stand in as an explanation...

Regarding Sullivan's inadequacies as a housemaster (which is what he was), perhaps this would have been a fine reason to remove him, but using his advocacy for Mr. Weinstein as an excuse summons up the old adage "Bad cases make for bad law". Now the precedent has been set, you need only support the 'wrong' people, and your career is at risk....

And our hostess finds this an acceptable state of affairs?

Unknown said...

Can you imagine this group of Americans risking their lives to save the country, or anything for that matter.

I sure do not.

James K said...

“I'm sure a lot has changed in the past few decades, but I only met my House Master perhaps half a dozen times, and it would never, ever have occurred to me to have considered him a parent.”

Same. And I bet the ‘in loco parentis’ thing is BS. I doubt students think of the faculty dean that way. I would also bet that a majority of the students at Winthrop House either don’t care or disagree that his defending Weinstein makes them feel unsafe. It’s a few noisy brats. It makes no difference if there was another reason to get rid of them. By choosing this time they sent a bad signal.

buwaya said...

You realize of course that the "kids" that forced this through, and the administrators that cooperated with them, are the future. The leading edge always determines the future, and that who these people are. Those who seize and exercise power when they are young will do so for their whole lives.

The passive remainder simply follow, and will always defer to these, their effective leaders. Even if they complain in private they have implicitly conceded, forever, the right to rule, the right to decide, the initiative to set the shape of society and culture.

This incident is just an illustration, as such incidents always are, of the true state of affairs in your cursus honorum.

And of course my point is made, I think, again. You cannot hope for recovery unless you destroy and rebuild these institutions. I don't see any effort going towards their destruction. There is no glimmer of dawn in sight.

buwaya said...

There is no inverse application of this precedent, because that is not the point of this thing, as a precedent, at all. This is an exercise in power, a demonstration of a weapon, a clarification of who leads you.

Sebastian said...

"And I bet the ‘in loco parentis’ thing is BS. I doubt students think of the faculty dean that way. I would also bet that a majority of the students at Winthrop House either don’t care or disagree that his defending Weinstein makes them feel unsafe."

Of course. It's just progs claiming scalps. Which Althouse knows, of course, hence the cagey lawyerly evasions.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

If Sullivan volunteered to defend St. James Comey in his upcoming sedition case, he’d be celebrated by these snowflakes.

Which is all you need to know.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Althouse: “When professors blame students, I always hesitate. These are kids.”

No, they are adults.

Michael K said...

This incident is just an illustration, as such incidents always are, of the true state of affairs in your cursus honorum.

These kids are a small sample of American youth. Granted they are members of a supposed elite caste. I don't see many of them go into Physics or Math or even Engineering.

Many of the militants are blacks caught up in the "Mismatch" dilemma. They are angry and frustrated but they will count for little in the future of the country. Maybe the HR departments of large corporations but even here the need for results will eventually marginalize them. We are in a phase, being very rich from the efforts of the previous generation, where diversity seems to be a value that exceeds results. That will not last. These agitators are chaff and will blow away.

This is another Thorsten Veblen example of waste by rich societies.

Jon Burack said...

I lived in Adams House at Harvard a long time ago. I posted this comment on the Harvard Crimson site in response to a story on this episode. The article was not just about the current issue, but supposedly past problems with Sullivan at Winthrop. Here is what I posted.

There is something so precious and pathetic about all this "toxic atmosphere" gossip (from three years ago!) about a dormitory. When I was at Adams (1961-64), it was a place to sleep, study, eat and occasionally swim in the pool we had. Otherwise, our lives were in our classrooms, the library, Cambridge, Boston, the wonderful world where we were and felt gloriously on our own. The only "toxic" thing I can recall was the smell of roommates who had not taken baths recently. The function of the tutors was as far as I can recall to make sure the parietal hours (yes, quaint, hey?) were properly observed, which we did under duress. Otherwise, I cannot recall a single one of them and do not care to at all.

Henry said...

@Jon Burack -- Very fine letter.

Parietal hours is a wonderfully quaint term.

Freeman Hunt said...

Assuming most parents haven't turned into Woke from the Dead zombies, why are they willing to pay for Harvard? Pay for Princeton, Dartmouth, or Cornell. Pay for U. Chicago. Don't reward anti-intellectual nonsense with dollars.

Skookum John said...

How on earth did I ever make it through four years at Big State U., where not a soul cared how I was doing in school? I never saw a counselor once the whole time I was there. We had to figure out the class schedule and academic catalog for ourselves. I’m sure the only person on campus who cared if I was alive or dead was the bursar.

Robert Cook said...

"Can you imagine this group of Americans risking their lives to save the country, or anything for that matter.

"I sure do not."


Why worry about it? There's a scant likelihood they ever will have to risk their lives to save the country, (if, by that, you mean in a military/war context). After all, no one has had to risk their lives to save the country in nearly 75 years, (though a lot of Americans have died and killed needlessly in unnecessary wars that had nothing to do with "saving" or defending our country).

Ken B said...

Robert Cook
Your historical ignorance astounds me, every time. No American lost his life in WWII saving his country. He lost it saving the countries of others. Despite what you “learn” on Netflix there was never any risk of America being invaded and conquered in WWII.

Molly said...

There are a couple things going on here that confuse the issue.

One is that Harvard (and I guess Yale), but nearly uniquely in higher education, has a system designed to expose undergraduates to their world class faculty in an informal (non-classroom) setting. This doesn't happen (except in a few "selective" type programs) in the public university where I teach, and I doubt that it happens at the University of Wisconsin. So whether or not this a good idea or bad idea is not the issue; the issue is within such a system should the world class faculty be required to restrict their expressed views and public activities so as not to offend students. (In my opinion the answer is obviously "no": if this system has value, it is in forcing students to confront uncomfortable ideas.)

The second source of confusion is the use of the term "dean" to describe the faculty that interact with undergraduates in an informal setting. Those of us unfamiliar with the Harvard system think of "deans" within an academic hierarchy -- between the department chair and the provost (or President). So to "fire" a person from his/her position as Dean in this context is to make a significant difference in the hierarchical structure and to send a clear message: if you want to move up in the hierarchy, you need to conform in your ideas. But that's not what is happening here (as best I can tell). The individual lost his/her position as Dean meaning that he/she was no longer part of the informal interaction with undergrads. But the individual did not lose any hierarchical position.

Birkel said...

Harvard screwed the pooch.
Never give the Danegeld.

Nichevo said...

And of course my point is made, I think, again. You cannot hope for recovery unless you destroy and rebuild these institutions. I don't see any effort going towards their destruction. There is no glimmer of dawn in sight.

5/15/19, 6:17 PM
buwaya said...
There is no inverse application of this precedent, because that is not the point of this thing, as a precedent, at all. This is an exercise in power, a demonstration of a weapon, a clarification of who leads you.

5/15/19, 6:20 PM


You've been recommending an attack on the educational institutions for some time. The targets have seemed a bit diffuse, but this seems a bright-line example.

So would you say that gathering all these screaming campus garbage babies, and the enabling staff, in one place, and doing a Breivik to teach them the meaning of "unsafe," would meet your terms?

Or is this polity in fact America's leadership cadre for good or ill, so that assassinating them would be an American Katyn Forest-scope disastrous loss, and that instead some kinds of efforts be applied to rehabilitate them? If so, what kinds?

Mike Petrik said...

"I wonder if Harvard will rename Adams House, since Harvard alum John Adams defended the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre."

Not at all. The honor accorded to John Adams is in this case entirely consistent with Harvard's "Hate America First" policy.

Swede said...

Honestly just can't bring myself to care.

I'm going to make an assumption that the professor and his wife are typical liberal college employees.

If that's so, then they had had a role in creating the environment that exists on colleges today that gave birth to this behavior.

In the end, the French Revolution ate it's own.

Lefties never learn this. Never.

Crazy Jane said...

The students are not children, and they sure aren't adults.

They are useful idiots.

PatHMV said...

So if I don't think I feel safe around lawyers who volunteered to represent accused terrorists housed in Guantanamo Bay, I can avoid them, and believe that their free choice to represent those alleged terrorists is a reflection of their personal beliefs? Is that really the Harvard position on the practice of law now?

I'm good with that position, frankly, but it throws Model Rule 1.2(b) out the window: "(b) A lawyer's representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social or moral views or activities."

I don't buy the "special relationship" argument that Harvard seems to be attempting here. I don't believe for a moment that the school would take the same position if the monster being represented by this faculty dean were a "revolutionary" in the mode of Che Guevara or some other person whose violence was claimed to have political motivations.

PatHMV said...

Would these same students be opposed to Atticus Finch being their Dean? Or is that different because we know that Tom Robinson was innocent, and that makes a difference to what the lawyer should or shouldn't do?

Automatic_Wing said...

The whole thing is completely ridiculous. Lawyers defend people worse than Harvey Weinstein all the time. Much, much, much worse.

Jason said...

So what's next, Maoist fucks?

We gonna sack deans because they were sighted buying lunch at Chick Fil-A?

Because this is just the lawyerly equivalent.

Jason said...

Ken B. No American lost his life in WWII saving his country. He lost it saving the countries of others.

Hi, Ken B.

I'm from Hawaii.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook
Your historical ignorance astounds me, every time. No American lost his life in WWII saving his country. He lost it saving the countries of others. Despite what you “learn” on Netflix there was never any risk of America being invaded and conquered in WWII."


Given that we were attacked by Japan, and that this was the precipitating event for our entering the war, one can say we were fighting to defend our nation. I am certainly open to the idea that we were not, in fact, fighting in defense of our country in WWII, (and am aware of the arguments that the U.S. purposely drove Japan to attack us, and am willing to accept that this may be true).

So...when have Americans ever died in defense of our country? If WWII doesn't count--and I am willing to agree it does not--then it certainly has been never in the modern era, and possibly never, period.

So, our soldiers die and kill for purposes of imperial acquisition of land, resources, and political dominance.