In his first striking statement about Harvard’s decision to drop his appointment as faculty dean, lawyer Ronald Sullivan Jr. wrote an op-ed for The New York Times this week decrying the reasons the university used to justify his termination. While Sullivan offers little to the conversation about liberal campus mobs that hasn’t been said already, his is yet another view that academia has become infected with a species of childish, immature, social justice warriorism that threatens to destroy the very purpose of higher education.
For the uninitiated, Sullivan took a position as Harvey Weinstein’s defense lawyer. Now, you won’t find any moral defense of Weinstein in the pages of Conservative Free Press, let us assure you. But the American justice system ensures that everyone from the wrongly accused to the most obviously heinous criminals in the country have the right to competent legal counsel. Neither O.J. Simpson nor Dzhokhar Tsarnaev nor Harvey Weinstein are exceptions to that rule.
Harvard’s SJW students saw it differently. They claimed that they no longer felt “safe” around Sullivan, given that he was now representing an accused sexual assaulter. They demanded that the administration give Sullivan his leave, and with very little debate, the administration did just that. It was one of the most stunning capitulation to campus mob-think we’ve seen to date, and that covers a hell of a lot of ground.
“The administration’s decision followed reports by some students that they felt ‘unsafe’ in an institution led by a lawyer who would take on Mr. Weinstein as a client,” Sullivan wrote. “I am willing to believe that some students felt unsafe. But feelings alone should not drive university policy. Administrators must help students distinguish between feelings that have a rational basis and those that do not. In my case, Harvard missed an opportunity to help students do that.”
Oh, it seems clear to us that Harvard, UC Berkeley, the University of Missouri, and a whole host of other once-respected universities have absolutely no interest in that opportunity. They have created an environment where the loudest, whiniest, most childish voices are catered to in the most obsequious fashion possible. When this disastrous policy goes to the extreme, you get the case of Oberlin College, which is now on the hook for millions after encouraging their students to try and destroy a local bakery’s reputation (after baseless accusations of racism). In more ordinary cases – here, Missou, and Evergreen State – someone just has to be fired to appease the SJW gods.
“Unchecked emotion has replaced thoughtful reasoning on campus,” Sullivan concluded. “Feelings are no longer subjected to evidence, analysis or empirical defense. Angry demands, rather than rigorous arguments, now appear to guide university policy. This must change. Until then, universities are doing a profound disservice to those who place their trust in us to educate them.”