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Harvard Law School says Brett Kavanaugh’s course is canceled

Under pressure from students and alumni, Harvard Law School announced Monday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will not return to teach his scheduled course in January.

“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,” Catherine Claypoole, the law school’s associate dean and dean for academic and faculty affairs, wrote in an e-mail to students.

Kavanaugh has taught at Harvard Law School since 2008, and had been slated to return to teach a three-week course on “The Supreme Court Since 2005.”

The announcement came as the Harvard Undergraduate Council called on university officials to investigate sexual assault allegations leveled at the Supreme Court nominee before allowing him to return to teaching at the law school, the student newspaper reported.

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The council voted Sunday night to demand that the university launch a probe, according to a report in The Harvard Crimson.

“The Undergraduate Council stands in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, and all survivors of sexual violence,” the council wrote in a letter requesting the investigation, the Crimson reported. “We also stand with members of Harvard Law School who request a full and fair investigation into allegations against Judge Kavanaugh before he is allowed back on campus to teach.”

Harvard officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault and misconduct dating back to his high school and college years in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the allegations.

Harvard Law School students have also been protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination for days and imploring the university to conduct an investigation.

On Friday, John Manning, the Harvard Law dean, who initially praised Kavanaugh as “an inspiring teacher and mentor” when President Trump nominated him in July, responded publicly for the first time, writing in an e-mail to students that “these have been painful, difficult times for our nation and our community.”

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“The Supreme Court confirmation fight has brought into sharp focus questions about sexual assault, fair process, fitness and character for high office, the integrity of the political process, and more,” Manning wrote. “I appreciate the many students who have spoken out and expressed views on these critical issues.”

At the same time, Manning refused to comment on Kavanaugh’s status at Harvard.

“I know that many of you are unsatisfied with the answer that we cannot comment on personnel matters in particular cases,” Manning wrote. “Still, I can provide you this assurance: 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.”

Several students said last week they were not satisfied with Manning’s response, particularly after Heather Gerken, the dean at Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Yale Law School, released a statement declaring that she, along with the American Bar Association, supports an independent investigation of the assault allegations before a confirmation vote is taken.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.