Famed Harvard Professor Roland Fryer Suspended for 2 Years Over ‘Unwelcome Sexual Conduct’

Roland G. Fryer in 2016. He is one of the most prominent African-Americans in economics, a field that has long struggled with racial diversity. (Credit: Erik Jacobs for The New York Times)
Roland G. Fryer in 2016. He is one of the most prominent African-Americans in economics, a field that has long struggled with racial diversity. (Credit: Erik Jacobs for The New York Times)

Roland Fryer Jr., a celebrated Harvard University economics professor, will be suspended two years and see the research lab he oversees shut down permanently in response to multiple allegations of sexual harassment. 

Harvard on Wednesday announced the unpaid administrative leave and a series of other sanctions – including the closing of the Education Innovation Laboratory or EdLabs, the site of many of the harassment allegations.

A review of formal allegations concluded that Fryer engaged in “unwelcome sexual conduct toward several individuals, resulting in the creation of a hostile work environment over the course of several years,” wrote Claudine Gay, dean of the university’s Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), to the economics department.

“In short, Professor Fryer exhibited a pattern of behavior that failed to meet expectations of conduct within our community and was harmful to the well-being of its members,” Gay said. “I was particularly upset to learn of the ways in which EdLabs members have been impacted, both personally and professionally. The totality of these behaviors is a clear violation of institutional norms and a betrayal of the trust of the FAS community.”

The announcement comes more than a year after the first of multiple Title IX investigations into Fryer’s behavior was launched by Harvard’s Office for Dispute Resolution after one of his former employees at EdLabs, which he founded, named him in a complaint. Some of the allegations from women go back a decade.

During Fryer’s two-year suspension he won’t be permitted to teach, advise or conduct research involving Harvard resources.

If he returns, Gay said he will face restrictions: He won’t have advising or supervisory roles at Harvard; He will be allowed to teach undergraduate courses, but subject to monitoring by a Title IX-trained individual and and without access to graduate teaching fellows; He will be able to teach graduate classes but not graduate workshops.

“At the end of those two years, I will decide whether to restore some or all of these privileges,” she said.

Fryer, 42, did not respond to an email seeking comment on Harvard’s decision.

Click here to continue reading…

SOURCE: Joey Garrison, USA TODAY