Dean Minow: How’s That Investigation Going?

I wrote here, here and here about an alleged hate crime at Harvard Law School, the placing of pieces of black tape over pictures of African-American professors at Wasserstein Hall. The law school’s administration launched an investigation of the incident.

On December 2, the law school’s dean, Martha Minow, sent an email to all alumni about the incident. It said, in part:

Several days ago, our community was shocked and saddened by the defacement of the portraits of some of our African-American faculty in Wasserstein Hall. The Harvard University Police Department is investigating this as a possible hate crime. The outpouring of support for these faculty members has been a heartening reflection of the community that I know and love so deeply.

Since then, there has been radio silence on the investigation. This is, perhaps, because a group of students set up a web site called Royall Asses that argued, highly persuasively, that “anti-racist” social justice warriors perpetrated the alleged hate crime as a hoax.

Since her December 2 email, I have heard nothing from Dean Minow. Curious about the status of the investigation, I have sent the email below to the dean:

Dean Minow, I have heard nothing from you about the alleged hate crime at Wasserstein Hall since your email of December 2. As a concerned alumnus, I wonder whether you can update me on the status of the law school’s investigation. Have the persons who put the tape on the portraits of professors been identified? Has surveillance video been viewed, and if so, can students be recognized on the surveillance tapes? Have fingerprints been taken from the glass surfaces of the professors’ pictures? Glass preserves fingerprints very well, and it seems almost impossible that the perpetrators could have applied so many pieces of tape without leaving prints. Have statements been taken from students who were in the vicinity at around the time of the incident?

I am a little surprised that the law school’s investigation has not yet brought this incident to a resolution. Your email said that the Harvard University Police Department is conducting the investigation. Can you give me the name of the officer who is responsible for it? I would like to contact him or her and see if I can learn anything more about its status. As a long-time trial lawyer, I can perhaps also offer suggestions that may help the investigators solve the apparent crime.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Hinderaker ‘74

I will post any response I receive from Dean Minow, but you probably don’t need to postpone your New Year’s Eve festivities waiting for an update.


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