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Harvard president reportedly says Kavanaugh voluntarily opted out of teaching law course

Lawrence Bacow.
Lawrence Bacow.Rachel Woolf for The Boston Globe

Harvard president Lawrence S. Bacow said Tuesday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh voluntarily opted to cancel his course at Harvard Law in January, amid sexual assault allegations leveled at the jurist that have imperiled his Supreme Court nomination, according to the student newspaper.

Bacow’s comments came during a meeting of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Crimson reported.

“My understanding is that Kavanaugh decided not to teach this next January and that decision is year-to-year,” Bacow said, according to the Crimson. “I don’t know more of how that decision was made.”

Bacow’s comments came after Catherine Claypoole, the law school’s associate dean and dean for academic and faculty affairs, had announced in an e-mail to students that Kavanaugh would not teach his three-week course entitled “The Supreme Court Since 2005.”

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“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.

The scandal involving Kavanaugh has reverberated across the Ivy League campus, with law students protesting his nomination for days.

The students have also demanded that Kavanaugh not return to Harvard without an independent investigation of allegations from three women who have accused the judge of sexual assault and misconduct dating back to his high school and college years.

Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the allegations. An FBI review is ongoing.

Last week, John Manning, Harvard Law School’s 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.”

Manning wrote that 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.”

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Michael Levenson of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.