Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh won’t be teaching at Harvard Law for the school’s January term, Associate Dean Catherine Claypoole announced in a Monday evening email to students.
“Today, Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered,” Claypoole wrote in the email, a copy of which has been obtained by Vox.
Kavanaugh has taught at Harvard Law School for about a decade and was known for a class called “The Supreme Court Since 2005.” The update about his teaching status — first reported by the Harvard Crimson — comes in the wake of sexual misconduct and assault allegations that have been brought against Kavanaugh and an explosive fight over his confirmation for the Supreme Court.
The scrutiny on these allegations came to a head last Thursday in a raw and emotional hearing featuring testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto University professor who says that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. Ford has said that Kavanaugh tried to force himself on her, removing her clothing and covering her mouth when she attempted to scream.
Two other women — Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick — have also made sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied all the allegations and did so again last week. The FBI is currently investigating and is expected to issue a report by Thursday or Friday.
The Harvard Law announcement also follows uproar from student activists who argued that the school wasn’t being vocal enough about investigating Kavanaugh, according to the Boston Globe. Administrators at Yale Law School had echoed a call for an FBI investigation that was made by the American Bar Association, while officials at Harvard have refrained from speaking out.
In response to student pressure, Harvard Law Dean John Manning has said that he is unable to comment directly on personnel matters, but noted that the school weighs allegations against its lecturers seriously. “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,” he wrote in a Friday email.
A growing number of Harvard Law students and alumni have pressed for the school to dump Kavanaugh as a lecturer, and some have sent letters urging the administration to reconsider his employment. “Allowing a person credibly accused of sexual assault to teach students prior to a full investigation surely creates a hostile environment for many students, and especially survivors,” students have written, according to the Crimson.
“I love teaching law, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to teach again,” Kavanaugh said during last week’s hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Among some Harvard law students watching the hearing, these remarks were met with cheers.