Evelynn M. Hammonds will remain on the Harvard faculty after leaving her job as dean.
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: May 28, 2013
Evelynn M. Hammonds, the first woman and the first African-American to hold the position of dean of Harvard College, will leave that post on July 1 after five years, but she will remain on the faculty, the university said in a statement posted online. She will lead a new program on race and gender in science and medicine, topics that have been at the core of her scholarly work for decades.
“I was never asked to step down,” Dr. Hammonds said. “I have been in discussions to return to academia and my research for some time.”
Harvard disclosed last summer that well over 100 students were suspected of cheating on a take-home exam, the largest such scandal in memory. As the Administrative Board looked into the cases and the students’ guilt or innocence — dozens of them were forced to take a leave from the college — elements of the investigation, which was supposed to be confidential, were reported by The Harvard Crimson.
In March, it was revealed that university administrators, hunting for the sources of those leaks, had searched through Harvard e-mail accounts of 16 resident deans, who are junior faculty members, live in the student houses and act as student advisers. Most of the resident deans were not told of the searches until months later. Dr. Hammonds and Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who had approved the search, said that only the messages’ subject lines were examined, not their contents, and that no other e-mail search was conducted.
But a few weeks later, Dr. Hammonds acknowledged that she had ordered another search, without consulting Dr. Smith, that also looked for specific e-mail recipients.
Dr. Hammonds said, “The e-mail controversy was difficult, but it was not a motivating factor in my decision to step down as dean.”