More than 100 students walked out of Harvard professor John L. Comaroff’s classroom in protest over sexual misconduct accusations against him.
As soon as Mr. Comaroff began his lecture, the students, almost all of whom were not actually enrolled in the class, stood up and left the classroom.
They then left the building and made their way to Barker Center, where the professor’s office is located, chanting “shut it down” and “time’s up” as they marched.
The protestors taped posters and pages from a 2022 lawsuit against the school that claims Harvard ignored and mishandled complaints of sexual misconduct concerning Mr. Comaroff.
Mr. Comaroff, a professor of African and African-American studies, has a long history of allegations of misconduct at Harvard. He was first placed on paid leave in 2020 after an investigation by The Crimson found that several women had made accusations of harassment to the university, which didn’t act on them.
The professor was then placed on unpaid leave in January 2022 after two new Harvard investigations found he had violated the university’s sexual harassment and professional conduct policies.
The investigations found no evidence to substantiate the claim that Mr. Comaroff initiated “unwanted sexual contact” with students, but found him to be guilty of “verbal sexual harassment.”
He returned to the classroom for the fall 2022 semester and faced similar protests by student activists.
Attorneys for the professor told The Crimson that he categorically denies the accusations and continues to go on teaching, adding that he is not a danger to students or faculty.
Students expressed their disapproval of Harvard allowing the professor to teach.
“Harvard is marketed as a place where all students should be able to succeed and get the best education in the world. And the reality is that our campus promotes a culture of sexual abuse, a culture of misogyny and harassment and discrimination.” organizer Rosalie P. Couture told The Crimson.
Lilia M. Kilburn, one of the women named in the lawsuit against Harvard over its handling of the accusations against Mr. Comaroff, applauded the protest on Twitter.
“No one should have to go through what I went through with John Comaroff to get an education. Because Harvard was warned about Comaroff and did nothing,” she wrote. “But these students are making sure warnings reach everyone.”
According to the Harvard Crimson, only three students were enrolled in Mr. Comaroff’s class, “Colonialism and its Postcolonial/Decolonial Afterlives: Critical Readings.”
More than 100 students reportedly walked out on Tuesday’s lecture.