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Hampshire College: Social Justice Professor Was Sexual Harasser

November 30, 2018

A late law professor at Hampshire College who taught social justice likely sexually harassed multiple females, college officials said.

In response the college has removed his name from a room dedicated to his memory and from an endowed fund in his name.

Lester Mazor taught undergraduates constitutional law, criminal procedure, history, philosophy, and social justice at the college in Amherst, Massachusetts from its founding in 1970 until 2007. He died March 6, 2011 in Berlin, Germany, where he moved after retiring, according to an obituary.

The college released a statement this week describing allegations against him in vague terms.

“An alumna shared with the administration allegations about inappropriate behavior in the 1970s by the late faculty member Lester Mazor,” wrote college president Miriam Nelson and Eva Rueschmann, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, in a letter posted on the college’s web site. “Following a directive last spring by then President Jonathan Lash, Hampshire conducted an investigation and concluded that more likely than not the inappropriate behavior occurred. During the investigation the College heard other allegations of inappropriate behavior, suggesting that this was not an isolated incident.”

The letter acknowledges that Mazor can’t respond to the allegations, whatever they are, since he died seven years ago.

“Some may call into question the College’s actions since Professor Mazor cannot defend himself and because these actions date from decades ago,” the letter states. “This era has brought long-needed attention to issues of sexual harassment and we want there to be no confusion at Hampshire over what behaviors were and are inappropriate. We take our roles as educators, mentors, and role models very seriously and apologize that a member of our faculty apparently did not do so, regardless of the era.”

Hampshire College offers an alternative, low-structure system of education and is known for its liberal culture.

In mid-November 2016, the then-president of the college announced the school would no longer fly the American flag after students apparently tore the flag down and burned it after Donald Trump was elected president. The president, Jonathan Lash, eventually decided to restore the flag to the campus 16 days later.

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