Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. and his wife, Harvard law lecturer Stephanie Robinson, will no longer be faculty deans of Winthrop House — one of 12 undergraduate residential houses at the Boston-area university — after their term ends June 30, Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana said.
Khurana, in a letter explaining his decision not to renew the couple’s deanships, wrote generally about a deteriorating climate in the 400-student house but did not specify the underlying issue.
“Over the last few weeks, students and staff have continued to communicate concerns about the climate in Winthrop House to the college. The concerns expressed have been serious and numerous,” Khurana wrote.
“This decision in no way lessens my gratitude to them for their contributions to the college.”
Sullivan made waves on campus in January when he decided to represent Weinstein, the former movie mogul whose downfall helped launch the #MeToo movement.
CNN’s attempts to reach Sullivan for comment Saturday weren’t immediately successful.
Sullivan had told students that people deemed ‘vile’ deserve defense
“It is particularly important for this category of unpopular defendant to receive the same process as everyone else — perhaps even more important,” Sullivan wrote.
“To the degree we deny unpopular defendants basic due process rights we cease to be the country we imagine ourselves to be. In fact, most of the due process rights we hold dearest derive from lawyers who represented unpopular defendants.”
The decision to represent a high-profile defendant in an assault case was fraught on Harvard’s campus, where sexual assault and harassment have been a major issue.
Sullivan is a longtime criminal defense attorney and criminal justice reform advocate. He represented the family of Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and he spent his early legal career at the Public Defender Service in Washington.
Weinstein’s trial begins later this year
Weinstein is accused of raping a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman at his Manhattan apartment in 2006.
The former film executive faces five felony charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Weinstein has denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.
The trial is to begin September 9.
CNN’s Eric Levenson and Augusta Anthony contributed to this report.