MIT Pulls Physicist’s Online Courses in Sexual Harassment Probe

Massachusetts Institute of Technology pulled the online courses of a well-known physicist after allegations that he sexually harassed at least one woman who was taking classes.

MIT removed all courses and lectures by Walter Lewin from MIT OpenCourseWare and EdX, the online learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard University, it said today in a statement.

The institution said it began an investigation in October after a student complained about online sexual harassment by Lewin. She also provided information about the professor’s interaction with her and other female online students, MIT said.

“MIT has determined that Lewin’s behavior toward the complainant violated the Institute’s policy on sexual harassment,” the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school said. The classes have been removed indefinitely “in the interest of preventing any further inappropriate behavior,” MIT said.

Lewin didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

He taught his last course on campus in spring 2008 and retired from MIT in July 2009, though he continued to teach online courses through fall 2013, the school said. Lewin was born in the Netherlands and came to MIT in 1966 where he has received awards for his teaching, according to MIT. In 1997, he was part of a team that won a NASA award for the discovery of the bursting pulsar.

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