In response to student protests over the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee and Harvard Law School visiting lecturer Brett Kavanaugh, John F. Manning, dean of the law school, sent an email to students with an assurance: Should any concerns arise about “individuals in our teaching program,” the school will take them seriously.
Whether Kavanaugh will continue teaching, Manning wouldn’t say.
While the dean of Yale Law School — Kavanaugh’s alma matter — has already joined the American Bar Association in calling for an FBI investigation into the allegations, Harvard has yet to make any such statements.
The school’s students, however, have been notably more outspoken, with The Harvard Crimson reporting that hundreds of law school students walked out of class during Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in a show of support for Kavanaugh’s accusers.
“According to several Law School enrollees,” wrote the school’s paper, “students sitting in Harvard Law classrooms Thursday ‘applauded’ and ‘burst out in cheers’ when Kavanaugh said he might never return to a teaching role.”
At 2:41 p.m. local time Friday, Manning sent the email below to Harvard Law students:
The letter reads:
Dear HLS Students,
These have been painful, difficult times for our nation and our community. The Supreme Court confirmation fight has brought into sharp focus questions about sexual assault, fair process, fitness and character for high office, the integrity of the political process, and more. I appreciate the many students who have spoken out and expressed views on these critical issues.
There is an immediate reason I write you today. A number of you have written to me to express concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s teaching in the Winter Term 2019. Though the course is not scheduled to meet for several months, I understand and respect the urgency you have for an answer now. I have written to dozens of you individually. I know that many of you are unsatisfied with the answer that we cannot comment on personnel matters in particular cases. But, as I have said, this policy serves important purposes even in stressful times.
Still, I can provide you this assurance: When concerns and allegations arise about individuals in our teaching program, we take those concerns and allegations seriously, conduct necessary inquiries, complete our process, and then act.
In response to a question about what, exactly, “necessary inquiries” means, Harvard Law spokesperson Robb London told HuffPost, “The Dean sent the message to students this afternoon. We aren’t commenting about process or any other aspect of what’s included in the message, because of our policy to not comment on personnel matters.”
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