Nobody said boo when Harvard Law School Prof. Ron Sullivan, director of its criminal-law clinic, represented former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez in his double murder trial.
Or when he worked for the family of Usaamah Rahim — who had been plotting a beheading, then shifted his focus to targeting police officers — was shot and killed by police in Boston in 2015.
But when the distinguished attorney joined the defense team of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in January, it was all too much for Harvard’s liberal student establishment to take. To them, accused murderers and terrorists deserve high-quality, even high-priced representation. A famous man accused of being a sexual predator and rapist, not so much.
Since January, the campaign against Sullivan and his wife, a lecturer at the law school, has been relentless. Breathless protests have drowned out sane thinking. Graffiti (“Down with Sullivan!”) has stained college walls.
Despite unwavering support from his colleagues at the law school, where he will remain employed, over the weekend Dean Rakesh Khurana announced that Harvard College would not be renewing the couple’s appointments at Winthrop House, where Sullivan is dean.
This is an act of cowardice that will long be remembered and reviled. Khurana buckled to a mob of young people rather than seizing the opportunity to teach them a principle that Sullivan affirms daily in the practice of criminal defense law: accusation is not conviction; invective should not stain lives and careers.