In this March 7, 2017 photo, rowers paddle down the Charles River past the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. (CHARLES KRUPA / AP)
WASHINGTON — Harvard University on Wednesday announced that it has suspended Professor Roland Fryer, seen as one of the most prominent African-American economists in the United States, without pay for two years over accusations of multiple sexual harassment in his lab.
It was concluded that Fryer had engaged in "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature" against at least five employees over the course of a decade
In a letter to the economics department, Claudine Gay, dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), said Fryer would be put on administrative leave for two years, during which he cannot teach or conduct research using university resources.
"Professor Fryer exhibited a pattern of behavior that failed to meet the expectations of conduct within our community and was harmful to the well-being of its members," Gay said in the letter. "The totality of these behaviors is a clear violation of institutional norms and a betrayal of the trust" of the FAS community.
The Education Innovation Laboratory, the off-campus space known as EdLabs where Fryer conducted most of his work, will be permanently closed as a result, according to a New York Times report, adding that after the suspension, Fryer will be barred from "advising or supervisory roles" and his teaching will be restricted.
Fryer, 42, has been the subject of several concurrent university investigations, which concluded that he had engaged in "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature" against at least five employees over the course of a decade, said the report.
Fryer received tenure at age 30, received a MacArthur "genius grant" in 2011, and in 2015 was given the John Bates Clark Medal, which honors an American under 40 for "a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge." His Harvard salary was more than 600,000 dollars, said the report, citing Harward's 2016 tax filing.
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