Harvard law professor’s classes canceled amid sexual misconduct allegations
Bruce Hay says the allegations are ‘false and defamatory’
A top Harvard law professor is not teaching this semester following accusations of sexual misconduct, according to legal documents seen by babe.
Bruce Hay's summer and fall classes were canceled by the university after they received complaints about his behavior in April.
Hay is a high-profile member of Harvard's law community. He graduated from Harvard Law School at the top of his class and clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia before being granted tenure by the university.
A graduate student who collaborated with Hay on academic projects has accused Hay of sexual misconduct and other untoward behavior, including incidents involving her partner. Professor Hay strongly denies the allegations against him, and through his lawyer, said the accusations were "false and defamatory."
The graduate student and her partner say they are both survivors of sexual abuse, and they did not waive their right to anonymity.
In the course of babe’s reporting on this story, Hay’s legal team has sought to cast doubt on the credibility of the graduate student and her partner, and referred to legal documents in which they were accused of making false allegations.
One incident between the graduate student and Hay took place on 10th August 2017. At 8.35 PM, Cambridge police responded to a 911 call at her address and said they found the professor hiding outside.
"[Detectives] arrived on scene and located Bruce Hay hiding in the bushes two houses away from [the graduate student's residence]," a police report says. The report adds that Hay was briefly detained outside the house, and was then served with a restraining order and warned not to contact the graduate student and stay 100 yards away from her at all times.
Douglas Brooks, Hay's attorney, told babe the restraining order was dismissed a week later. He said that Hay owned the house the graduate student and her family were "illegally occupying," and that he was hiding outside because he was trying to retrieve his children's cat, which they were "effectively holding hostage." These claims are disputed by the graduate student.
This incident is one of a long list of allegations made against Hay by the graduate student and her partner. Babe has not been able to independently corroborate some of these claims, as well as Professor Hay's counter-claims, and is choosing not to report them.
Mentioned in a pre-suit letter the graduate student's lawyer sent Harvard are comments from a 2010 law blog that said Hay, while teaching his law classes, used to yell, "Who wants to be raped?" It was apparently part of the mock rape trials he held in class. One student described it as "horrifying."
A commenter wrote: "He wanted students to play the part of the victim, accused, and their lawyers. So, he loudly shouted 'who wants to get raped?' After about a minute of him doing this, some girl finally raised her hand and volunteered to be the rape victim. He immediately shouted 'Who raped you?' and made her pick one of the male students in the class as the accused rapist."
Another added: "Ahahahaha. I sat through an almost identical class, where Bruce pointed at a girl and suddenly declared, 'You. You're my… er… you're a rape victim.'"
Hay's attorney Brooks told babe: "In response, Professor Hay noted that hypothetical rape trials are common in law school evidence classes and denied doing anything different from other evidence professors."
Hay was due to teach a course on Insurance Law for the fall 2018 semester. On July 20th – the same day that the graduate student's lawyer contacted Harvard with the pre-suit letter – Harvard Law School's course list noted that Hay's classes were moving to the spring 2019 semester.
A civil action suit Hay filed against the graduate student, which babe has seen, said: "Harvard University officials informed [Bruce Hay] that it was canceling his scheduled summer and fall classes at both the Law School and the Division of Continuing Education."
The suit added: "Harvard University has taken away [Bruce Hay's] privileges to teach at the Division of Continuing Education, eliminating a major source of income for him and his family and causing him humiliation and mental suffering."
When contacted by babe, Hay's lawyer Brooks initially said the classes were not canceled. "First, Professor Hay's classes were not canceled," he said. "To be clear, Professor Hay is on research leave this semester—he is not suspended."
In a subsequent email, he appeared to step back from his earlier message and said: "In terms of the cancellation of the classes, the language in the First Amended Complaint was true. However, subsequently, the law school found another professor to teach his summer class and his fall class was moved to the spring."
We have repeatedly contacted Harvard Law School's media relations office to ask about Hay's current status. They have seen our messages but have yet to respond.
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