Harvard Dean Responsible for Email Searches Steps Down

Evelynn Hammonds will step down after a controversial search of faculty emails.

Evelynn Hammonds, the dean of Harvard College who apologized for searches of administrator emails earlier this year that created conflict with the faculty, is stepping down to return to teaching, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael  Smith announced today.

“Being dean of Harvard College has been an immensely rewarding experience for me, but I miss engaging deeply with my scholarship and teaching,” Hammonds said in the Harvard Gazette.

The development isn’t, at this point, extremely surprising given the Harvard Crimson’s report several weeks ago that Hammonds was in talks about stepping down in the wake of her role in searching the emails of Harvard administrators to identify the source of a leak related to the cheating scandal. After first admitting to a limited search of the subject lines in residential deans’ administrative email accounts this spring, the administration confessed to a broader email search than they’d first acknowledged, a mistake Hammonds attributed to her own “failure to recollect” the additional searches. In a faculty meeting, Harvard President Drew Faust apologized to the faculty for the searches, saying “different choices should have been made,” and pledging that an independent task force would look into the matter and report back to the Harvard community. Hammonds will be taking a sabbatical before she returns to teaching, the Gazette adds.