MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S
EMERGENCY MOTION FOR AN ORDER DISALLOWING ADMINISTRATIVE
Elizabeth Fahey, Justice
pro se plaintiff, Gustavo German ("
German"), obtained a harassment prevention order,
pursuant to G.L.c. 258E, on August 25, 2016. The most recent
revision of that order was issued on December 5, 2016. See
Paper No. 78.
this court is German's Emergency Motion for an Order
Disallowing Lee L. Rubin and/or Any Employee at Harvard
Corporation to Initiate Administrative Proceedings Against
Plaintiff without Leave of Court (" Motion"). For
the reasons below, the Motion is ALLOWED nunc pro
tunc to May 4, 2017.
Motion was filed on an emergency basis on May 4, 2017, after
German was put on notice that administrative proceedings were
underway, which could lead to his ultimate removal from
Harvard as a Ph.D. candidate. President & Fellows of
Harvard College (" Harvard") and Lee L. Rubin
(" Rubin") filed a response and opposition to the
Motion on May 11, 2017. Harvard filed a written request for
hearing, but did not call the court to obtain a hearing on an
expedited basis. A flurry of additional motions and
oppositions were filed in the two weeks following May 10,
2017 related to Harvard's withdrawal of German, and a
hearing was held on all such motions on May 30, 2017. As
concerns the instant Motion, following the hearing, this
court declined to act, writing a margin order that states,
" This Court was first alerted by the RAJ on 5/30/17 to
participate in the hearing scheduled for 5/30/17, by which
time Harvard had already acted. No action taken at this
time." The action to which the order referred was
Harvard's withdrawal of German from the university on May
court now takes up German's Motion.
December 5, 2016, this court issued its most recent revision
of the harassment prevention order in this case. See Paper
No. 78 (" Order"). It provided, in relevant part,
that German was to " immediately be fully restored to
and remain in his position and research in the Rubin Lab,
" and that " German shall remain working in the
Rubin Lab, supervised by [ ] Dr. Rubin." See
id. at pars. 2, 3.
March 2, 2017, German's program advisors requested that
German hold a Dissertation Advisory Committee ("
DAC") meeting. On March 3, 2017, German agreed to hold
the DAC meeting on March 30, 2017, on the condition that
Sheila Thomas, whom Harvard had designated as German's
interim thesis advisor, not attend as German believed the
Order required Rubin to be his thesis advisor. On March 6,
2017, the program administrators informed German " as a
condition for the DAC meeting that German accept to have a
new thesis advisor in Rubin's stead." German
rejected the condition and refused to attend the DAC meeting,
stating it would violate the court's Order that directed
he was to be " supervised by Dr. Rubin." On March
10, 2017, German emailed his DAC, the program advisors, and
Rubin (through counsel) objecting to the requirement that
Rubin be replaced as his thesis advisor and expressing his
concern that it violated the court's Order. German was
also concerned that replacing his thesis advisor may alter
the already approved schedule for completing his research.
Even if the new thesis advisor were not acting in bad faith,
" he or she may have a different scientific
understanding (or misunderstanding) than the one German
agreed [to] with Rubin and his DAC."
response, Harvard and Rubin both took the position that the
court had not ordered Rubin to be German's thesis
advisor. Dean Garth McCavana then told German if he would not
agree to hold the DAC, and replace his thesis advisor, German
would face administrative proceedings and possible withdrawal
from the university. On March 30, 2017, German again emailed
his program advisors and Dean McCavana stating his objection
to holding the DAC meeting " to assign German a new
thesis advisor" and his belief that doing so would
violate the Order.
April 6, 2017, Harvard, through Dean McCavana, initiated
administrative proceedings against German and threatened him
with academic probation. On April 25, 2017, Harvard placed
German on academic probation.
16, 2017, following the filing of the instant Motion, and
without waiting for the court to schedule a hearing, Harvard
withdrew German from his graduate program and disaffiliated
him from the university. Although Harvard claims in open
court that it has invited German to reapply, Harvard and its
faculty have told German he is no longer a student at Harvard
and have ...