Harvard Law Professors Criticize Sexual Assault Documentary
Harvard Law has had a tough past week. Last week, Harvard Law students began protesting the school’s official seal, which resembles the seal of the first major donor’s family. But the first major donor was apparently a ‘brutal slaveowner.’ Now, 19 of the school’s professors are firing back at a documentary that portrays a sexual assault case at Harvard Law.
The documentary, Hunting Ground, which airs on CNN on Nov. 19, focuses on a sexual assault case at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The documentary also calls out similar cases at other institutions—and one of them is Harvard Law. In the film, Kamilah Willingham, a Harvard Law graduate, is interviewed about a case in which fellow Harvard Law student, Brandon Winston, allegedly sexually assaulted her and a friend.
In the law school’s investigation, Winston was found guilty but professors approved Winston’s appeal to return to school. This, of course, was also happening while Harvard Law was dealing with broken sexual assault regulations after the government found the school in violation of Title IX gender equity law.
And so, last Wednesday (Nov. 11), 19 Harvard Law professors released a statement calling into question the film’s portrayal of Willingham’s account.
“There was never any evidence that Mr. Winston used force, nor were there even any charges that he used force,” the faculty, wrote, which was published in this Boston Globe article. “No evidence whatsoever was introduced at trial that he was the one responsible for the inebriated state of the women who are portrayed in the film as his victims.
“Nor was any body vested with final decision-making authority persuaded that Mr. Winston was guilty of any sexual assault offense at all. Mr. Winston was finally vindicated by the law school and by the judicial proceedings, and allowed to continue his career at the law school and beyond.”
On the film’s website, the filmmakers respond by saying “In an effort to dismiss the crisis of campus sexual assault, some rape deniers have attacked the findings of our film and some of the victims in it. Whatever the motivation of these critics—and frankly it boggles the mind—the truth is on our side. These are the facts.”
Either way, the Title IX infraction, account and documentary call into question how sexual assault claims have been handled at Harvard Law.
Source: Boston Globe
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