MIT Removes Online Lectures From Popular Retired Professor After Online Sexual Harassment Claim

MIT has taken down online lectures from Walter Lewin, a popular retired physicist and professor, after the school said that Lewin sexually harassed at least one student enrolled in an online course.

The female student had enrolled in one of Lewin’s MITx online courses and claimed sexual harassment, the school said in a statement on Monday. The woman also offered information about other interactions between Lewin and other women enrolled in online courses.

Based on its investigation, MIT has determined that Lewin’s behavior toward the complainant violated the Institute’s policy on sexual harassment. Following broad consultation among faculty, MIT is indefinitely removing Lewin’s online courses, in the interest of preventing any further inappropriate behavior.

Lewin was well known his dynamic lectures and dramatic teaching style, according to a story from BetaBoston:

MIT did not reveal the name of the student, and the initial announcement did not clarify if investigations into Lewin’s relationship with more than one student were conducted.

In a 2008 interview with the Boston Globe, Lewin said, “My reputation is based on being an unusual and very effective teacher. That’s my legacy.’’

As many as 10,000 people a day watch Lewin’s lectures, which are always enlightening and rarely boring. (For example, to demonstrate how a rocket takes off, he rides a tricycle propelled by a fire extinguisher across his classroom.)

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