A Harvard Law School professor who was ousted from his position as faculty dean over his decision to represent disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein condemned the administration’s decision on Friday.

Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana emailed students last month to announce that Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. and his wife, Stephanie Robinson, would not be returning to their positions as faculty deans at Harvard College’s Winthrop House after their term ended in June. 


The couple released a five-minute YouTube video titled “When Harvard Stumbles …” blasting the university’s decision, saying administrators acted in ways “grossly antagonistic to the very norms that make Harvard the epitome of higher education."

"A university, it's a place where bright young minds are supposed to learn the disciplines of framing and grappling with arguments and quite frankly, respecting and understanding the views of others," Robinson, a Harvard lecturer, said in the video. "So when a place like Harvard pays insufficient attention to that vital work, it not only betrays the ambitions of the university and its students, but it quite frankly betrays our academic traditions."

Sullivan and Robinson were the first African American faculty deans in Harvard’s history, according to USA Today. They served as resident leaders of one of the 12 buildings that house undergraduate students. 

Their other positions at the school have not been affected, according to the outlet.

Khurana wrote in a May email to students and staff that there were a “number of considerations” that contributed to the decision.

“Over the last few weeks, students and staff have continued to communicate concerns about the climate in Winthrop House to the college,” he wrote. “The concerns expressed have been serious and numerous. The actions that have been taken to improve the climate have been ineffective, and the noticeable lack of faculty dean presence during critical moments has further deteriorated the climate in the house. I have concluded that the situation in the house is untenable.” 

The couple said in the video the reason they would not be returning as faculty deans was because of his decision to represent the former Hollywood movie mogul accused of sexual assault and harassment by dozens of women.

"Let's be clear," Sullivan said in the video. "It was my willingness to represent Mr. Weinstein in the first place that prompted a furor and ultimately Harvard's decision to dismiss us as faculty deans. We know this to be true as does the Harvard community including its most senior members.”

“What's at stake here is not my future or ours or even our family's," he continued. "We will be fine. What is at stake are the values that underwrite the best traditions of higher education, the very same traditions that has sustained Harvard for 400 years."

He noted that he is no longer representing Weinstein, who is expected to stand trial in September for rape and other sex crimes, because the court dates interfered with his teaching obligations.

“In America, everyone is entitled to a defense,” Sullivan said. “In America, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And in America, everyone is entitled to due process of law under our Constitution.”

A Harvard spokeswoman told USA Today that Sullivan’s decision to represent Weinstein was not the sole reason for the faculty dean terms not being renewed.

"As we have repeatedly stated, the decision not to renew Ronald Sullivan and Stephanie Robinson was not directly related to the Weinstein representation, but rather due to their failure to fulfill their responsibilities as faculty deans of Winthrop House," Rachael Dane said.

Weinstein last month reached a tentative $44 million settlement with some of the women accusing him of sexual assault and harassment, according to The Wall Street Journal.