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A national wave hits Harvard
Issues of race and inclusion swept across Harvard late last week, with a College report on efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive campus, a demonstration and march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, an incident at Harvard Law School that spurred outrage and national attention, demands from students of Latin-American origin, and statements of support from University administrators. On Thursday morning, portraits of black professors on the walls of Wasserstein Hall at Harvard Law School had black tape across their faces. The incident prompted an ongoing police investigation and set off a wave of concern among students and University officials amid a growing movement for racial justice that is unfolding in colleges across the country. “It was an act of blatant racism,’ said Leland Shelton
, JD’16, president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association. “I was taken aback that somebody had the audacity to do this.”
Harvard ‘black tape’ vandalism brings law school’s controversial past to fore
was one of the first Harvard law students to see the black tape placed over about six portraits of Harvard Law School’s tenured black faculty Wednesday morning. “I was surprised to see it ...” Purnell said, before reconsidering: “Actually, I wasn’t surprised at all.”...At Harvard, the tape that was pasted across the faces of black professors appears to have been taken from an “art-action” in which student activists placed black gaffer tape over the law school seal in several locations of the school’s main hub, Wasserstein hall. The action was carried out by members of the campus group Royall Must Fall (RMF) and was intended to draw attention to the seal’s history as the family crest of the wealthy and ruthless slaveholder Isaac Royall Jr....Alexander Clayborne
, a spokesperson for RMF, told the Guardian that the art-action was meant to be educational. “It was purely meant to call attention to the fact that the Harvard seal is the seal of a slaver and should be removed.”He called the response of taking that tape and placing it on the faces of black professors “an act of blatant racial intimidation”...Ronald Sullivan
, one of the black professors whose face was vandalized by the tape, said: “I’ve learned more about the crest than I’ve known in 25 years of association with Harvard,” citing the efforts of the student protesters.
The Harvard Crimson
Royall Must Fall
An op-ed by Antuan Johnson [`16], Alexander Clayborne [`16], and Sean Cuddihy [`16].
The Harvard Law School crest is a glorification of and a memorial to one of the largest and most brutal slave owners in Massachusetts. But Isaac Royall, Jr., was more than simply a slave owner; he was complicit in torture and in a gruesome conflagration wherein 77 black human beings were burned alive. This fact and others were absent from The Crimson’s recent editorial, “Recognizing History”—an erasure of history that shows precisely why the seal must be changed. Now that the Law School has been subject to an act of racism, we feel that it is more important than ever to bring this history to light. As the students of Royall Must Fall, we call on the Law School to confront and address this history, not to sanitize and ignore it.
The New York Times
A Lesson at Harvard Law
A letter by Charles Fried
. Instead of dignifying with inflated philosophical bloviation the grim nastiness of the anonymous vandal(s) who pasted strips of black tape on the portraits of African-American professors, Harvard Law students responded with wit and human warmth: They put along the frames of those same portraits hundreds of colored Post-it notes bearing messages of affection and gratitude. These young men and women teach us all a valuable lesson.
An imperfect process: How campuses deal with sexual assault
...Colleges and universities across the country are required by federal law to investigate and adjudicate whenever a student makes allegations of sexual misconduct. The procedures vary widely. Most schools hold disciplinary hearings, often made up of teachers and students, some with little training, acting as prosecutor, judge and jury..."The schools, upon receipt of the Dear Colleague letter and looking at its requirements, weren't completely sure of exactly how to comply, and so in many cases they did more than they necessarily needed to do," says Jeannie Suk
, a Harvard Law professor and outspoken critic of the campus tribunals. "They kind of in a sense over-complied. Now, they bent over backwards, and then that's when they put in place -- kind of in a hurry -- these procedures that now don't respect fair process."
The Boston Globe
‘The Hunting Ground’ exposes ‘target rapes’ on campus
An op-ed by Diane Rosenfeld.
The documentary film “The Hunting Ground” exposes the systemic problem of campus sexual assault. Through harrowing narratives of student-survivors, we see the profoundly devastating effects that one act of sexual violence can have on a victim’s entire educational trajectory. It is all too prevalent on college campuses and represents a massive deprivation of women’s civil rights to educational equality. Those who argue that sexual assault cases involving college students should simply be handled by the criminal justice system are missing the critical point that schools have legal obligations to enforce the civil rights of students.
How The Hunting Ground Spreads Myths About Campus Rape
On Sunday night, CNN will air The Hunting Ground—a work of activist propaganda disguised as a documentary about sexual assault on American college campuses....Nineteen Harvard University law professors have denounced the film for (among other faults) misrepresenting the case of Harvard law student Brandon Winston, whose life was put on hold after a night of drunken, drug-fueled sexual contact resulted in his expulsion from the university and criminal charges. “What our student did is not the kind of violent, repeat sexual assault that the movie claims is both the nature of the problem nationwide and that each of the people in the film are an example of that,” said Elizabeth Batholet
, one of the Harvard law professors speaking out about The Hunting Ground’s errors, in an interview with Reason. “That’s an amazing lie at the heart of a movie claiming to be a documentary.”...“Three good years of his life have gone solely to this,” said Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley
, who also rejects The Hunting Ground’s narrative, in an interview with Reason. “It’s not right for the filmmakers to extend it out to yet another trial in the court of public opinion, when the underlying claims have been so conclusively rejected. It’s bad for the overall effort for justice, and it’s bad for this young man.”...“We who have spoken out at Harvard are completely committed to addressing sexual assault,” said Bartholet. “It’s horrible that this film is coming out that is now misrepresenting the nature of the problem and diverting attention away from how we can address it.”
Los Angeles Times
Governors’ tough talk can’t block refugees
Half the state governors in America are constitutionally ignorant or shamefully demagogic. Most likely it's the latter, but some may be both..."I've gotten past the point of being astounded by grandstanding," constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe
told me. "I'm sure they know better. But by their calculations, they have nothing to lose by joining a bandwagon that can't move. "It's not something a governor who cares about the law would do in great conscience, but I wonder how many governors really give a damn." I asked Tribe, a Harvard constitutional law professor who has argued scores of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, whether governors have any control over immigration. "None," he replied. "Absolutely none. Federal law is supreme."
Nuremberg’s Complicated Legacy
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
The Nuremberg trials opened 70 years ago, on Nov. 20, 1945 -- with every prospect of ending in disaster. Nuremberg was the first time in modern history that the victors of a war decided to treat a defeated European enemy as criminal. The prosecution faced one overwhelming problem: There was no clear legal authority to say that starting a war was a crime under international law. Today we often think of the Nuremberg trials as having been about the Holocaust. But in fact the prosecution team, led by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson and including British, French and Russian lawyers, focused on the theory that Germany’s crime was to have engaged in “aggressive war.”
The Wall Street Journal
Investment Advisers Don’t Need Mystery Monitors
An op-ed by Lecturer on Law Norm Champ
. In recent testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, David Grim, the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management, said the agency is working on a proposal that if adopted would “establish a program of third-party compliance reviews for registered investment advisers.” The third-party reviews would not replace examinations conducted by the SEC, but would “supplement them in order to improve compliance by registered investment advisers.” The SEC only examines about 10% of investment-management firms in the U.S. each year, so the idea of forcing such firms to pay for third-party exams is appealing because it would increase the number of firms examined. Sounds sensible, but the unintended consequences need to be examined. Not that long ago the SEC turned its “gatekeeper” powers over to private parties—with disastrous results.
The Huffington Post
Portraits Of Black Harvard Law Professors Defaced (video)
When Harvard Law student Michele Hall
went to class today, she found that the portraits of every black law professors had been covered with tape. She joins to discuss the act of vandalism and racial tension on campus.
The Boston Globe
Harvard Law incident stirs racial debate on campus
When someone placed strips of black tape over the faces of black professors’ portraits at Harvard Law School on Thursday, many people were appalled. But Derecka Purnell
, a black law student, said she wasn’t surprised. Purnell and other students of color said racism — intentional or otherwise — occurs frequently on campus. But unfortunately, they said, it often takes something as egregious as the tape incident for others to notice. “What’s happens is, it’s not public and ... it typically stays among the group that’s impacted,” Purcell, a second-year student from St. Louis...Law professor Ronald Sullivan Jr
., whose portrait was among those defaced, said that in his 25 years as a student at the law school and now a professor and a housemaster, he could not recall any act that was as “boorish” as this. “To say that there is unfair treatment is not to say that these places were absolutely horrible and the experiences of black students were always intolerable,” Sullivan said in a telephone interview. “It is to say, however, that with all the progress we’ve seen, there are still areas that need to be addressed.”
For law students, a cautionary tale
Carrying scales and wearing a blindfold, the image of justice has long symbolized judgment delivered without bias or prejudice. That was not the case for Victor Rosario. “The blindfold meant something different for me: that sometimes justice closes her eyes to the truth,” said Rosario, who served 32 years in prison for a crime he said he didn’t commit. Now 58 years old, Rosario was 24 when he was charged with homicide by arson in a Lowell fire that killed three adults and five children...The Law School hosted Rosario on Nov. 13 for a talk before students titled “Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction: Why Did Victor Rosario Serve 32 Years in Prison for a Crime He Didn’t Commit?” His lawyers, Lisa Kavanaugh and Andrea sen, accompanied him to the event, which was sponsored by the Criminal Justice Program of Study, Research & Advocacy.