Friday, December 12, 2014

Fallen Hero

This was really sad to read about an academic superstar [see this NYTimes profile] with millions of student fans across the globe:

MIT indefinitely removes online physics lectures and courses by Walter Lewin
"MIT policy on sexual harassment was found to be violated."

MIT is indefinitely removing retired physics faculty member Walter Lewin’s online lectures from MIT OpenCourseWare and online MITx courses from edX, the online learning platform co-founded by MIT, following a determination that Dr. Lewin engaged in online sexual harassment in violation of MIT policies.

MIT’s action comes in response to a complaint it received in October from a woman, who is an online MITx learner, claiming online sexual harassment by Lewin. She provided information about Lewin’s interactions with her, which began when she was a learner in one of his MITx courses, as well as information about interactions between Lewin and other women online learners.

MIT immediately began an investigation, and as a precaution instructed Lewin not to contact any MIT students or online learners, either current or former.

The investigation followed MIT protocol for complaints of sexual harassment. The head of the physics department, Professor Peter Fisher, ensured an objective and timely review, which included a review of detailed materials provided by the complainant and interviews of her and Lewin.

Based on its investigation, MIT has determined that Lewin’s behavior toward the complainant violated the Institute’s policy on sexual harassment.